RWC Diary Day 32 - New captain
30 September, 2011
|(L-R) Netani Talei and Sam Domoni. |
A raft of injuries have forced ten changes to the team that started against Samoa. In the front row only hooker Sunia Koto remains, with Deacon Manu dropping out of contention with an injury and Campese Ma’afu starting from the bench, head coach Sam Domoni has handed local based players Waisea Nailago and Setefano Somoca their first starts in this Rugby World Cup (RWC) campaign.
At lock the fit again Wame Lewaravu returns to partner Leone Nakarawa, while it’s all change in the back row with Rupeni Nasiga and Sakiusa Matadigo manning the sides while stand-in captain Netani Talei packs down at number eight in place of the injured Sisa Koyamaibole.
At scrumhalf Vitori Buatava claims his first start of the campaign with Nemia Kenatale dropping to the bench, while out wide Ravai Fatiaki, Albert Vulivuli and Iliesa Keresoni all also claim their first starts of the tournament.
New skipper Talei admits it was a bit of a surprise to have been handed the role during this campaign and revealed he felt extremely privileged when he was asked to lead.
“It’s a privilege to first of all serve your country and play on the field and it’s an honour to be selected as captain,” Talei said.
“I’ve always thought that one day I might lead the boys out there but I didn’t think it was going to come this soon, but I’ve got to grab the opportunity now with two hands and make the best of it,”
Tomorrow (Saturday) it’s back on the road again for the Flying Fijians as the team packs its bags and heads west to Hamilton the venue of Sunday’s match against Wales. Hamilton is also the home town of Welsh coach Warren Gatland – lucky coincidence or judicious placement by the Rugby World Cup powers that be? Who knows? But what it means is the whole of Hamilton is likely to be supporting their favourite son – Gatland - and his Welsh team.
While a number of permutations are in play for this game with regard the outcome what’s clear is both sides desperately want a win to finish off pool play on a high. While Fiji will be playing for their small but loyal band of fans back in Fiji, Wales will, more than anything else, be wanting the victory to bury the ghost of RWC 2007.
The Fiji team to play Wales on Sunday is:
1.Waisea Nailago, 2.Sunia Koto, 3.Setefano Somoca, 4.Leone Nakarawa, 5.Wame Lewaravu, 6.Rupeni Nasiga, 7.Sakiusa Matadigo, 8.Netani Edward Talei, 9.Vitori Tomu Buatava, 10.Nicky Little, 11.Michael Tagicakibau, 12.Gaby Lovobalavu, 13.Ravai Susau Fatiaki, 14.Albert James Vulivuli, 15.Iliesa Keresoni, Reserves - 16.Viliame Veikoso, 17.Campese Ma'afu, 18.Akapusi Qera, 19.Mala Ravulo, 20.Nemia Kenatale, 21.Seremaia Bai, 22.Vereniki Goneva View the Flying Fijians RWC 2011 photo gallery.
View video highlights of the Flying Fijians in New Zealand.
Related articles: RWC Diary Day 30 - Mosese Rauluni RWC Diary Day 31 - Changes