The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are asking their wider squad to step up and deliver in today’s second Rugby World Cup pool game against Uruguay, after making 12 changes to their run-on team.
The Flying Fijians threatened an almighty upset against Australia on Saturday, leading the two-time champions for large periods of the game in Sapporo before fading in the final stages of the 39-21 defeat.
Captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Leone Nakarawa and Semi Radradra are the only players asked to back up in the starting 15 against Uruguay and coach John McKee has challenged the new players in the team to put up their hands and play well.
“We need the fresh players to really show a lot of leadership in the game because we know that some of the players who played, especially a full game, against Australia although physically they’re feeling pretty good mentally, they’re real fatigued,” McKee said.
“For those players coming in it’s important they show leadership firstly to get a good performance against Uruguay (and) secondly those players have got to really put their hand up for selection the next match against Georgia.”
In the forwards, Eroni Mawi, Mesulame Dolokoto and Manasa Saulo form an all-new front row, while Tevita Ratuva and Api Ratuniyarawa pair up at lock.
There’s an injury enforced reshuffle in the back-row, with Peceli Yato (concussion) and Viliame Mata (calf) both ruled out of contention.
Waqaniburotu keeps his place on the blindside flank, while Yato’s spot on the openside is filled by Mosese Voka, with Leone Nakarawa shifting to number eight.
Henry Seniloli and Josh Matavesi get the chance to impress in the halves, while second five Jale Vatubua and right winger Filipo Nakosi will also get their first minutes of the tournament.
Semi Radradra returns to the centres, having impressed on the left wing against the Wallabies, allowing Vereniki Goneva to get his first start of the tournament, with Alivereti Veitokani getting the nod at fullback.
Eroni Mawi, Mesulame Dolokoto, Manasa Saulo, Tevita Ratuva, Api Ratuniyarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (c), Mosese Voka, Leone Nakarawa, Henry Seniloli, Josh Matavesi, Vereniki Goneva, Jale Vatubua, Semi Radradra, Filipo Nakosi, Alivereti Veitokani.
Reserves: Tuvere Vugakoto, Campese Ma’afu, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Tevita Cavubati, Samuel Matavesi, Nikola Matawalu, Ben Volavola, Levani Botia.