Fiji Airways ‘Flying Fijians’ head coach John McKee has named a fiery side to take on Scotland, at their home ground of Murrayfield, Edinburgh, this weekend.
It’s a team full of experience, added with plenty of flair and the natural, unorthodox playing style of the Fijians. With the Gregor Townsend coached home side still reeling from their close loss to the Welsh last weekend, the South Sea Islanders want to open their Northern Tour on a high note.
Flying Fijians to face Scotland in Murrayfield rematch
Fiji won their last battle in Suva, Fiji last year, and the Scots want to win at home to settle the score. Playing each other seven times, with the Scots ahead five-to-two, yet a maiden victory by the visitors would be a tremendous win (by any account).
Two conflicting styles of rugby have always been played by both teams. Yet with many of the tiny nation’s players on contract in Europe, and gaining in match experience through the Pacific Nations Cup, it is hoped that it will come together to offer the visitors a chance of winning away from home.
Flying Fijians coach John McKee has named a powerful side to face Scotland this Saturday. The Fijians will look to open their Northern tour on a positive note, as they prepare for a physical encounter against the Scots.
In a Media release by Fiji Rugby, McKee said “The team is very much looking forward to the challenge against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
“We had success against Scotland in 2017 in Fiji but that counts for nothing here. We will have to bring our best game if we want to achieve success, as anything less will not be good enough against this good Scotland Team.”
Fiji marched into camp in Edinburgh on Monday, and the Head Coach is pleased to see his team come together quickly, ready for the challenge ahead.
“Training this week has been good in preparation for this important Test Match against Scotland. The team can take confidence from our training sessions and must now step up to impose our game plan under the intensity of Test Match rugby.”
Fired-up Flying Fijians side to battle Scots
There is plenty of first-class experience in the Fijian lineup and the side is prepared for a fierce contest up front against a polished Scottish outfit. “Scotland have a strong set piece. This will be a key area of the game.
“We will need to match them in the scrum and lineout & stop their driving maul to be successful in this match.”
Campese Maafu (Leicester), Sam Matavesi (Cornish Pirates) and Manasa Saulo (London Irish) will be given the job of spearheading Fiji’s forward pack, with Newcastle Falcons’ Tevita Cavubati and Racing 92’s Leone Nakarawa locking in the second row.
— PacificRugbyWelfare (@pacificwelfare) May 12, 2018
Edinburgh favourite Viliame Mata rounds out a dynamic back row, alongside newly appointed captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu (Brive) and the explosive
Peceli Yato (Clermont).
McKee told FijiRugby.com “Scotland showed last week against Wales that they are willing to shift the ball and play an up-tempo game. Our defence will have to be top class to deny Scotland opportunities to score.”
Players debut reliant of support from Senior Fiji men
Clermont full-back Setareki Tuicuvu earns his debut in the white jersey, and will be well supported by the experience of Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons), Jale Vatabua (Pau), the barnstorming former League-player Semi Radradra (Bordeaux) and Metui Talebula (Bayonne).
Quality abound, as Fiji look to impose their own tempo and game style into the match at Murrayfield. Scottish commentators are excited by the challenge brought from the Southern Hemisphere.
AUTUMN TEST PREVIEW | Chris Paterson and Jo Wilson look ahead to tomorrow's test v Fiji discussing Rugby World Cup, players to look out for and the return of Stuart Hogg. #AsOne pic.twitter.com/II2XLGLqIX
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) November 9, 2018
As is custom, after the national anthems, and a minutes silence in respect of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Flying Fijians will perform the Cibi. The challenge is laid down (see main picture), in their traditional war dance that gets the player’s and fans heart rates going.
Expect the Flying Fijians to be cautious to begin with though, as they tackle the organized Scottish side – but once the ball goes the way of the Fijian backs, traveling fans and those at home, should expect some fireworks to entertain the sold out stadium.
The Flying Fijians will meet Scotland this Saturday, November 10 at 2.30pm (GMT) or 3.30am, Sunday (FJT) live on Fiji One.
Fiji Airways team to face Scotland;
1. Campese Maafu
2. Sam Matavesi
3. Manasa Saulo
4. Tevita Cavubati
5. Leone Nakarawa
6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu ©
7. Peceli Yato
8. Viliame Mata
9. Frank Lomani
10. Ben Volavola
11. Vereniki Goneva
12. Jale Vatabua
13. Semi Radradra
14. Metui Talebula
15. Setareki Tuicuvu
16. Mesulame Dolokoto
17. Eroni Mawi
18. Kalivate Tawake
19. Albert Tuisue
20. Semi Kunatani
21. Henry Seniloli
22. Alivereti Veitokani
23. Eroni Vasiteri
Head Coach: John McKee
Assistant Coaches: Andre Bell, Neil Barnes, Peter Ryan, Alan Muir
Manager: Bill Gadolo
Busy weekend for International Rugby Tests
The England Rugby team, with Eddie Jones at the helm, will battle the New Zealand side at Twickenham which is dubbed ‘Game of the Year’.
In Wales, the Dragons will chase their elusive victory over the ‘wounded’ Wallabies.
On the French side, Rassie Erasmus will try to get a win to get over their disastrous finish last weekend in England.
Samoa will continue to rebuild when they take on the United States.
It promises to be a great weekend of rugby, so sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the game we love. International rugby at its best.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images