The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians have named a powerful team to round out the June Test Series against Tonga in Lautoka this Saturday afternoon.
This third and final test gives Head Coach John McKee another quality opportunity to develop combinations and provide invaluable international experience to his wider squad as they work towards November and ultimately Rugby World Cup 2019.
“We’ve picked a team to win this test match, which is most important” said McKee.
“This Test Series has also been a great opportunity to cast an eye to the future and give players their opportunity to perform in the Test Match arena”
Continuing an outstanding series so far, Jale Vatabua and Vereniki Goneva will combine in the centres alongside Montpellier team mates Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa promising some exciting strike power for the Flying Fijians.
Young Savusavu scrum half Frank Lomani has been given the start for the final Test against the Ikale Tahi following an impressive series off the bench.
“Frank is an exciting up and coming player, who we’ve seen rapid development from in the 12 months he’s been around camp”
“We’re looking forward to seeing how he can spark the Flying Fijians game”
Fan favourite Semi Radradra has not been named for the contest against Tonga in lieu of a compulsory stand down period in order to rejuvenate and prepare for the Rugby World Cup 7s.
In a joint agreement between Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Head Coach John McKee, Men’s 7’s Coach Gareth Baber and the management of Radradra’s new club Bordeaux, the decision to manage Semi’s load will ensure the blistering back will be available to perform at both Club and Country level for the heavy 2018/19 programmes.
The front row of Ma’afu, Taleimatoga and Saulo will lead the forward charge for Fiji against a big Tongan pack who are sure to bring a tough contest to the Fijians.
‘It’s important we match them (Tonga) physically to create opportunities for ourselves”
Despite the Pacific Nations Cup sitting safely on the shelf, for Head Coach John McKee, the title is not relevant unless victory is achieved against on Saturday.
“Although the PNC was won last week, unless we beat Tonga, we can’t really call ourselves the Pacific Nations Champions” he said.
Always a passionate outing against our Pacific neighbours, the clash against Tonga is sure to fiery, and McKee wants to see his team remain focussed on the discipline they showed against Georgia.
“I was really pleased with the discipline against Georgia, only giving away eight penalties” he said
“We need to avoid giving away any unnecessary penalties and keep that count to under 10.”
The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians will travel west to Lautoka today, via a lunch break at the Warwick Resort.
The team are looking forward to being back in the Sugar City for the first time since 2014.
For the passionate Fijian fans in the west it’s a rare opportunity to see a host of the world’s best rugby players live in action on their doorstop.
“The June Test Series is very important to the Flying Fijians because it enables the boys to get home in front of their family and their country and play the game they love”
The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians will play Tonga at Churchill Park, Saturday 23rd of June at 3.00pm.
Tickets available from $10 for embankment, $20 Grandstand A and $30 Grandstand B at Lautoka City Council and the FRU.
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians v Ikale Tahi Tonga
Saturday 23rd June – 3.00pm kick off
Churchill Park, Lautoka
- Campese Ma’afu
- Tuapati Taleimatoga
- Manasa Saulo
- Viliame Mata
- Leone Nakarawa
- Dominiki Waqaniburotu
- Mosese Voka
- Akapusi Qera
- Frank Lomani
- Ben Volavola
- Nemani Nadolo
- Jale Vatabua
- Vereniki Goneva
- Timoci Nigusa
- Kini Murimurivalu
- Tuvere Vugakoto
17. Peni Ravai
18. Mosese Ducivaki
19. Albert Tuisue
20. Nemani Nagusa
21. Seru Vularika
22. Alivereti Veitokani
23. Sevanaia Galala