Vodafone Flying Fijians Northern Tour Head Coach Gareth Baber has made seven changes to his run-on team for the match against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Monday.
Baber said “We had a look at the team earlier this week, accessed the injuries and realized what we need to put together so that we can get as much training done during the game week and prepare well for the test match.”
“We named the team taking into consideration a little bit of continuity from last week and a couple of changes in positions as well. I’m looking forward to seeing them go and we are excited about the prospects and the responsibilities ahead” said Baber.
Giant Lose Head Prop Peni Ravia makes his way back and will join the regulars Hooker Sam Matavesi and Tight Head Prop Mesake Doge in the front row. Api Ratuniyarawa replaces Leone Nakarawa and gets the starting nod with the huge responsibility of calling the line-outs. Albert Tuisue has moved up to the flanker’s position while Viliame Mata returns to his favorite number eight jersey.
In the backs, Frank Lomani returns at half-back relegating Nikola Matawalu to the bench and after a strong outing against Spain, the blockbusting wingers Josua Tuisova and Eroni Sau earn their places in the starting line-up.
Zuriel Togiatama and Apisai Naqalevu are expected to make their debut for the Vodafone Flying Fijians off the bench.
Baber said “With everyone injury-free, we got a big pack loaded with experience so it’s important that we utilize them correctly.
Ratuniyarawa will run the lineout and will be assisted by Sam Matavesi who is also our Vice-Captain and will provide that leadership in the forward pack as well. Waisea Nayacalevu takes the captaincy role again as he led the team and played well against Spain last week.”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Vern Cotter who is closely monitoring the Vodafone Flying Fijians and working together with Baber and his coaching staff said their focus is to do little things right against Wales.
“We should get away with the mindset of just competing with these teams but actually playing to beat them. We are working on the skills and on what we can do to become a more resilient opposition and learn to win.
I hope we could get clarity in our set piece, get game lines off our carries and I hope defensively we defend well plus there are a lot of little things we need to do right against Wales.”
“Following the All Blacks series is important because they are a good team and exposed us in certain parts of the game. We have worked on these areas and I think we are becoming better in our set-piece, tight plays as we avoid giving away penalties and we now learn to win games” said Cotter.
Vodafone Flying Fijians Squad VS Wales
- Peni Ravai
- Sam Matavesi
- Mesake Doge
- Api Ratuniyarawa
- Temo Mayanavanua
- Albert Tuisue
- Mesulame Kunavula
- Vilimae Mata
- Frank Lomani
- Ben Volavola
- Eroni Sau
- Vilimoni Botitu
- Waisea Nayacalevu
- Josua Tuisova
- Setareki Tuicuvu
- Zuriel Togiatama
- Eroni Mawi
- Leeroy Atalifo
- Tevita Ratuva
- Masivesi Dakuwaqa
- Nikola Matawalu
- Apisai Naqalevu
- Aminiasi Tuimaba