Head Coach Vern Cotter has named an exciting and powerful Flying Fijians run on team for the final Autumn Nations Cup match against Georgia on Sunday.
After the pool matches against France, Italy and Scotland were called off due to the Flying Fijians team being hit with COVID-19 and being in quarantine, Cotter said they are fortunate to be playing their final match in the ANC.
Cotter said “What we have lived through is difficult and in this kind of situations people grow and become better individuals and they have time to think and reflect.
I think we have been able to do that as individuals and also as a team.”
He added “We are stronger, we missed 10 days but when we look at each other now, you can see the message passing in everybody’s eyes that we have been through something difficult and the health of our players was paramount from the start.
I think we need to recognize that this isn’t been easy for the players and if they get out on the field to play this weekend, it’s an achievement just on itself.”
Cotter said that all the COVID 19 challenges since the Team assembled has not dampened the spirit of the players, who returned to full swing training this week.
“To be fair it hasn’t bothered the players. The players are focused on playing for the Flying Fijians and putting on the white jersey that they are incredibly proud off together with representing their country,” he added.
Cotter said, “It’s an exciting blend of experience and young players who want to establish themselves as Flying Fijians.”
Nine players will earn their first cap for the Flying Fijians. Flankers Johnny Dyer and Mesulame Kunavula together with Lock Temo Mayanavanua have been named in the starting line-up while Tevita Ikanivere, Haereiti Hatet, Samuela Tawake, Chris Minimbi, Manueli Ratuniyarawa and Simione Kuruvoli have been named on the bench.
He has maintained the halves combination of Frank Lomani and Ben Volavola and Nemani Nadolo returns on the left wing and will be assisting Volavola with the kicking.
Powerful Josua Tuisova will be on the right wing while Semi Radradra and Levani Botia will control the midfield and full-back Kini Murimurivalu will guide the team from the back.
Cotter said “We have a very established backline who have played together for many tests and I expect them to be lethal if given quality possession”
Semi Radradra has been named the captain of the side.
Cotter said the Flying Fijians have a lot at stake as they will throw their all and show the World, they’re part of ANC for a reason.
“We know Georgia is tough and they have been playing plus improving because they are part of good competition.
They played well against Ireland recently so the battle will start upfront.
The forwards are the first group that I’m really concerned about because we know they will be going to drive our line outs and dominate our scrum and attack when we have the ball so we can’t get the ball out to our exciting backline.
We are aware of that and the first challenge is to be very attentive and work hard to become effective and then of course once we do that, we need to find space and we need to have Semi Radradra, Nemani Nadolo and Josua Tuisova with ball in hand and a little bit of room.
If we can do that than our game will be the game, we want” said Cotter.
Flying Fijians V Georgia
- Peni Ravai
- Samuel Matavesi
- Mesake Doge
- Tevita Ratuva
- Temo Mayanavanu
- Johnny Dyer
- Mesulame Kunavula
- Albert Tuisue
- Frank Lomani
- Ben Volavola
- Nemani Nadolo
- Levani Botia
- Semi Radradra
- Josua Tuisova
- Kini Murimurivalu
- Tevita Ikanivere
- Haereiti Hetet
- Samuela Tawake
- Chris Minimbi
- Manueli Ratuniyarawa
- Simione Kuruvoli
- Seru Vularika
- Waisea Nayacalevu
_Fiji Rugby Media