McKee names first XV for 2019 season opener.
Fiji Rugby Head Coach John McKee has named his first run on side for the 2019 season as the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians kick start their RWC campaign with a two match Pacific Series test against the Maori All Blacks at Suva’s ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
McKee said “It’s a very important game for us this week, only to start our campaign well for players to take their opportunity and show good form from the get go.”
London Irish stars Albert Tuisue and Alivereti Veitokani have been given the nod for to start ahead of some more senior players in the squad, for this opening clash.
In-form hooker Sam Matavesi leads the front row with props Peni Ravai and Manasa Saulo.
Skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu takes charge of an exciting forward pack consisting of Tuisue, Leone Nakarawa, Viliame Mata and Semi Kunatani.
“There are a lot of talented players right across the park in the team,”
“The important thing for these players is to find their combinations quickly and work within our systems in both attack & defence” says McKee.
“Adding to the experience of skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu in the back row are Viliame Mata, who is really developing as a world class number eight and Semi Kunatani, who although not the typical backrow player will add more fire power in the team,” McKee said.
The new midfield pair of Lepani Botia and Waisea Nayacalevu will be put to the test this weekend while Alivereti Veitokani will make his start at fullback with Eroni Sau and Josua Tuisova on the wings.
“It’s good to see Waisea Nayacalevu back in the Flying Fijians colours. He has been out of the group for couple of campaigns now due to some untimely injuries over the past 2 European seasons” McKee said.
McKee added “He gets an opportunity in the team paired with Botia in the midfield. The up and coming Frank Lomani at half-back and experienced Ben Volavola at fly-half complete the backline.”
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians face the Maori All Blacks at 3.00pm at ANZ Stadium in Suva on Saturday.
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Squad
- Peni Ravai
- Sam Matavesi
- Manasa Saulo
- Albert Tuisue
- Leone Nakarawa
- Dominiko Waqaniburotu
- Semi Kunatani
- Viliame Mata
- Frank Lomani
- Ben Volavola
- Eroni Sau
- Lepani Botia
- Waisea Nayacalevu
- Josua Tuisova
- Alivereti Veitokani
- Mesulame Dolokoto
- Eroni Mawi
- Kalivati Tawake
19. Api Ratuniyarawa
23 Patrick Osbourne