Cotter makes changes for Ireland game

Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter has made eight changes and a few positional adjustments for their second Autumn Nations Cup match against Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.

Cotter has maintained his front-row combo of Eroni Mawi, Sam Matavesi and Manasa Saulo.

Isoa Nasilasila starts at lock and will pair up with powerful Ratu Leone Rotuisolia who gets his second straight game after making his debut against Scotland.

Cotter has not touched his forward pack which is full of experience consisting of Albert Tuisue and Levani Botia at flanks and Viliame Mata at number eight.

In the back, Teti Tela starts at fly-half and will partner with half-back Frank Lomani. Kalaveti Ravouvou and captain Waisea Nayacalevu will continue their combinations in the midfield while Jiuta Wainiqolo comes in at right wing and Vinaya Habosi retains the number 11 jersey.

Setareki Tuicuvu moves to fullback after Kini Murimurivalu was ruled out due to an injury sustained during the match against Scotland last weekend.

Mesulame Dolokoto and Lee-Roy Atalifo will come as replacements in the front row while John Dyer returns into the fold after last playing for Flying Fijians in July 2021. Ben Volavola and Simione Kuruvoli are expected to add more firepower in the second half while Adrea Cocagi will highly likely earn his first cap off the bench.

Vilimoni Botitu played well at number 10 against Scotland last weekend but misses out this week due to an injury while Maqala is being rested to give Adrea Cocagi a chance to prove himself.

Cotter said: “We want to give everybody a try during these three test matches. There is an opportunity for everybody to play and grow.”

He added that the Flying Fijians need to display their best game and do everything right if they are to counter Ireland on Sunday.

“We will have to step up against Ireland. There is three main access we are working on; we want to work on how we carry the ball and clean the ball so have to provide a fastball, we want to improve our defense and we want to be on top of our game in our set piece,” said Cotter.

Cotter is expecting Ireland to give an opportunity to those players who have not played a lot of games this season to test their squad depth ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

“The game against South Africa has given them an enormous amount of confidence and they are barely looking at us because they have Australia the week after. For them, it’s just a training session and for us, it’s a game where we can learn so we will use this opportunity to get better.

“They are a very good team. They are not only physical but very slick, very good short passing game, in and around rucks, they can move the ball wide quickly and they have a better kicking game,” said Cotter.

Flying Fijians take on Ireland at 1 am on Sunday.

Flying Fijians Team V Ireland

  1. Eroni Mawi
  2. Sam Matavesi
  3. Manasa Saulo
  4. Isoa Nasilasila
  5. Ratu Leone Rotuisolia
  6. Albert Tuisue
  7. Levani Botia
  8. Viliame Mata
  9. Frank Lomani
  10. Teti Tela
  11. Vinaya Habosi
  12. Kalaveti Ravouvou
  13. Waisea Nayacalevu
  14. Jiuta Wainiqolo
  15. Setareki Tuicuvu

     16. Mesulame Dolokoto
     17. Livai Natave
     18. Lee-Roy Atalifo
     19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
     20. John Dyer
     21. Simione Kuruvoli
     22. Ben Volavola
     23. Adrea Cocagi

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