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FIJI Water Flying Fijians Ready to Face Georgia with Full Strength Line-Up

The FIJI Water Flying Fijians Head Coach, Mick Byrne, has announced a formidable line-up for their first test match of 2024 against Georgia. This match, set to take place at Adjarabet Arena in Batumi, Georgia, will see the Fijians reinforced with seasoned players from Europe and France who were part of the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC).

Leading the team as captain is Waisea Nayacalevu, with 16 players from the RWC squad expected to bring significant experience and skill to the field. The Fijian forward pack, a critical component of the team’s strategy, will be bolstered by these experienced players, making the contest against Georgia’s strong forward pack particularly intense.

Newcomers Kitione Salawa, Peniasi Dakuwaqa, and Inia Tabuavou are set to make their test match debuts, with 11 of the starting team having participated in the RWC. Off the bench, five players from the world tournament will be available, including debutants Elia Canakaivata and Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, who are anticipated to make impactful contributions if given the chance.

Mick Byrne emphasized the value of the team’s experience and the excitement it brings. “There’s a lot of experience that has come through the forward pack and there’s some stability in the conversation within the team. The enthusiasm from experienced players will boost the morale of the team, especially with the debutants on game day,” Byrne stated.

The senior players, particularly those from the Northern Hemisphere, have integrated well with the squad, creating a cohesive and supportive environment. This unity is expected to enhance the team’s performance compared to their last game against the Barbarians, where they had limited preparation time.

Despite the absence of Peceli Yato due to injury, the team remains confident. Meli Derenalagi’s strong performance in recent games has been highlighted as a positive factor. Additionally, the squad includes the experienced Semi Radradra, who joined training late in the week, adding further depth to the team heading into the test against the All Blacks.

Caleb Muntz will miss this test match due to a minor injury but will be closely monitored by the team management for a swift recovery. An exciting player to watch in this game is Peniasi Dakuwaqa, known for his explosive speed and confidence in running the ball, as seen in his recent club games in France. Byrne commented on Dakuwaqa’s inclusion, noting his special contributions in the French league and his potential impact on the wing for Fiji.

The FIJI Water Flying Fijians vs Georgia match kicks off in Batumi, Georgia at 8pm on Friday, July 5th, while viewers in Fiji can watch the game on Sky Pacific at 4am on Saturday, July 6th.

Your match day FIJI Water Flying Fijians team that will take on the Georgians includes:

1. Eroni Mawi

2. Tevita Ikanivere

3. Mesake Doge

4. Isoa Nasilasila

5. Temo Mayanavanua

6. Lekima Tagitagivalu

7. Kitione Salawa*

8. Viliame Mata

9. Frank Lomani

10. Vilimoni Botitu

11. Peniasi Dakuwaqa*

12. Inia Tabuavou*

13. Waisea Nayacalevu (C)

14. Jiuta Wainiqolo

15. Ilaisa Droasese

16. Zuriel Togiatama

17. Haereiti Hetet

18. Peni Ravai

19. Albert Tuisue

20. Ratu Meli Derenalagi

21. Elia Cakanakaivata**

22. Simione Kuruvoli

23. Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula**

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