Fijians Head Coach John McKee has secured a wealth of experience in his match-day 23-member squad for the opening round of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Japan, in Kamaishi this Saturday.
“We’re getting further down our journey towards Rugby World Cup and have a stronger understanding of our game plans and our systems,” McKee commented.
“I’m thrilled to have been able to name such a strong squad for the match against Japan,” he added.
Local prop Eroni Mawi starts in the front-row together with hooker Sam Matavesi and Manasa Saulo.
“Mawi deserves selection,” McKee said. He’s an up and coming player that has been drafted for a number of test matches as a reserve and this is his opportunity to show what he has in the starting team this Saturday.”
Leone Nakarawa and Albert Tuisue again partner up in the starting second row while skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Semi Kunatani will be on the flanks. Viliame Mata returns at number eight.
In the backs, Frank Lomani comes in at scrum-half, Ben Volavola at Number 10 while Alivereti Veitokani moves to full-backs position. The powerful combination of Waisea Nayacalevu and Levani Botia strengthens the mid-field.
Filipe Nakosi starts his third straight match at right wing while Patrick Osbourne will be on the left.
McKee said it’s really important for the team to win the physical collision against Japan.
“We did that against the Maori All Blacks in Suva. It is important that we repeat that type of dominance against Japan,” he added.
McKee said they expect a fast pace game from the Brave Blossoms, who will play their first test match of the season in the weekend.
“They will play a very up tempo and a very fast game so we need to work very hard in our defensive system and effort to deny Japan opportunities to score,” McKee said.
Fiji's Match-day 23
16. Mesulame Dolokoto
17. Peni Ravai
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo
19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
20. Peceli Yato
21. Henry Seniloli
22. Jale Vatubua
23. Josh Matavesi
Via: Fiji Rugby