Fiji Rugby Head Coach John McKee has named a
formidable Fiji Airways Flying Fijians side for their final Fiji Airways
Pacific Series Test match against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday.
With so much depth in the squad, McKee has made
ten changes to its run on side which defeated the Maori All Blacks 27-10 at
Suva’s ANZ Stadium last weekend.
McKee said they expect a different and challenging
match against the Maori All Blacks.
He added “The host team will want to bounce
back on their home territory and turn the tables on us.”
Veteran Prop Campese Ma’afu makes his start for
this season together with Naitasiri prop Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto and Lee-Roy
Atalifo in the front row.
Former Fiji Under-20 rep Tevita Ratuva will
partner up with Apisalome Ratuniyarawa in the locks while Fiji Airways Drua
captain Mosese Voka will be on the flanks.
Henry Seniloli starts at half-back and Alivereti
Veitokani shifts to fly-half position. Jale Vatubua and Patrick Osbourne return
to boost the Flying Fijians fast pace backline.
McKee said it’s important to give all the
players the game time ahead of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup and the Rugby
World Cup in Japan.
“It was always the intention across these two
matches to give players in our squad opportunity and game time in the lead up
to the PNC.”
“It is important that these players grab this
chance and make a strong statement,” Coach McKee said.
McKee said wintry conditions in Rotorua would
mean quite a different match to the hard, fast and dry ANZ Stadium last
“We will need to be very patient with the ball
to build pressure on the New Zealand Maori. Last week although we made many
line breaks we turned over too much ball,” McKee revealed.
retention and continuity to build pressure and create scoring opportunities
when we are in possession along with our consistent work rate and discipline in
our defensive system will be the two most important factors for us in this
match,” McKee added.
Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor said
the players selected for this weekend’s match have the opportunity to stake a
spot in the final 31 member squad for RWC in Japan.
“The team understands that we want to improve
in every match and are targeting nothing than a win this week so we can
continue to build momentum ahead of the PNC.” O’Connor added.
The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians face Maori All
Blacks at 7.35pm (NZ Time) at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.
Airways Flying Fijians Squad:
- Alivereti Veitokani
- Filipo Nakosi
- Jale Vatubua
- Waisea Nayacalevu
- Patrick Osbourne
- Kini Murimurivalu
16. Samuel Matavesi
17. Joeli Veitayaki
18. Luke Tagi
19. Albert Tuisue
20. John Dyer
21. Serupepeli Vularika
22. Sevanaia Galala
23. Josh Matavesi