Vodafone Flying Fijians Head Coach for the Northern Tour, Gareth Baber has made three changes to his run-on team against Georgia on Sunday as he looks to end the 2021 Autumn series on a high note.
“We will be playing our third and final game so it’s about energy and experience as we prepare to go against a good and physical Georgian pack,” Baber said, “Some of the decisions prior to selecting the final team has been based around what’s going to contribute to being able to put a winning and excellent performance by the players starting or those coming off the bench.
Loose Head Prop Eroni Mawi gets his second start and will lock hands with Hooker Sam Matavesi and Mesake Doge at Tight Head Prop. Leone Nakarawa comes back into the starting line-up and will partner with Api Ratuniyarawa at locks while the flankers’ combination of Albert Tuisue and Mesulame Kunavula continue with Viliame Mata at number eight.
Baber has maintained his core players in the backline. Frank Lomani and Ben Volavola share the halves duty, Waisea Nayacalevu and Vilimoni Botitu make up the midfield combo again, Aminiasi Tuimaba comes at left-wing with Josua Tuisuva on the right whilst Setareki Tuicuvu will make his third consecutive start at fullback.
Three new players have been added to the bench for the match. Australia-based halfback Moses Sorovi and France-based duo Luke Tagi and Eneriko Buliruarua have been added to the game-day squad.
Baber said they have kept the squad balanced knowing that all the players need to get the game time before the tour ends.
“We are trying to create and keep the same momentum which we started with against Spain in our first match and also have the experience and physicality to be able to prevent Georgia from getting into the game.
“The team has been well led by Waisea Nayacalevu. Vilimoni Botitu in the center has been outstanding with the quality he brings into the game plus Josua Tuisova and Setareki Tuicuvu have given their best performance so far,” said Baber.
Meanwhile, Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter said that it’s important that the team sticks to the game plans and understands that they are good and as powerful plus strong as their opponents.
“We need to keep in mind that when their physical contact and we are capable of beating them one on one and keep scoring tries. We just need to keep bringing these aspects of the game but bring discipline and become more accurate. The strategy has been decided and the players should follow it. Let’s be accurate on our line-outs, line outcalls, not put pressure on ourselves by making errors or giving referees the opportunity to penalize us and let’s enjoy the game and not make the game difficult for us.”
The match takes places at the Estadio Municipal El Deleite in Georgia, kicking off at 2.30am FJT on Sunday.
Vodafone Flying Fijians squad VS Georgia
- Eroni Mawi
- Sam Matavesi
- Mesake Doge
- Api Ratuniyarawa
- Leone Nakarawa
- Albert Tuisue
- Mesulame Kunavula
- Viliame Mata
- Frank Lomani
- Ben Volavola
- Aminiasi Tuimaba
- Vilimoni Boititu
- Waisea Nayacalevu
- Josua Tuisova
- Setareki Tuicuvu
- Zuriel Togiatama
- Peni Ravai
- Luke Tagi
- Tevita Ratuva
- Masivesi Dakuwaqa
- Moses Sorovi
- Nikola Matawalu
- Eneriko Buliruarua
Photo: Fiji Rugby