The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Head Coach, John McKee has made one change to his starting XV for their final Pool D match against Wales that will take place at the Oita Stadium this Wednesday.

Viliame Mata replaces Peceli Yato at number eight as John McKee plots defeat of pool leaders Wales. Picture: World Rugby

The team will see Viliame Mata returning at number eight in place of Peceli Yato, who recovered from a head injury he received in the opening match against Australia to anchor the scrum in the impressive 45-10 win over Georgia. Yato moves to the bench.

Ben Volavola retains his place at fly-half to face Wales for the second World Cup in a row. Volavola kicked eight points when the teams met in Cardiff in 2015 when Wales won 23-13.

The 28 year-old is Fiji’s top points scorer at this World Cup, and four more points this week will lift him above Severo Koroduadua into second place on the all-time Fijian RWC points list. Volavola is on 37 points, with Nicky Little out in front on 125.

Second-row Leone Nakarawa and prop Campese Ma’afu will move into joint second in the Fiji all-time list of RWC appearances. This will be their 12th appearances at Rugby World Cups, moving them level with Akapusi Qera. Little still holds the outright record with 14 appearances across four tournaments.

If Leone Nakarawa makes one more carry, he will hold the outright record for Fiji in Rugby World Cup history. Nakarawa has 104 carries overall in RWC games, the joint-most for a Fijian player at the RWC, alongside Sisa Koyamaibole.

Fiji are third in the pool, a position that would guarantee them qualification for RWC 2023 in France. Victory over Wales would give them an outside chance of making the quarter-finals, a feat the Fijians last achieved in 2007 when they beat Wales 38-34 in Nantes to reach the last eight.

Fiji

Campese Ma’afu
2. Samuel Matavesi
3. Manasa Saulo
4. Tevita Cavubati
5. Leone Nakarawa
6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.)
7. Semi Kunatani
8. Viliame Mata
9. Frank Lomani
10. Ben Volavola
11. Semi Radradra
12. Lepani Botia
13. Waisea Nayacalevu
14. Josua Tuisova
15. Kini Murimurivalu

16. Mesulame Dolokoto
17. Eroni Mawi
18. Peni Ravai
19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
20. Peceli Yato
21. Nikola Matawalu
22. Jale Vatubua
23. Josh Matavesi

 

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