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Fiji Water Flying Fijians

The tenth quadrennial Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 9th with the final to be played at Stade de France, Saint-Denis in Paris, France on October 28th. The Fiji Water Flying Fijians open their campaign against Wales at Stade de Bordeaux {11th September}, followed by further Pool C matches versus Australia at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard {18th September}, Georgia at Stade de Bordeaux {1st October} and Portugal at Stadium de Toulouse in Toulouse {9th October}.


2023 Fiji Water Flying Fijians wider squad for Rugby World Cup.

Fiji Water Flying Fijians Head Coach Simon Raiwalui has today announced a wider squad of 45 players for the upcoming July test series against Tonga on 22nd July 2023, Samoa on 29th July 2023, Japan on 5th August 2023, and pre-Rugby World Cup warm-up matches against France on 19th August 2023 and England on 26th August 2023.

The wider squad includes 23 players from the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua who are currently preparing for the Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinal against the Crusaders on Saturday, 13 players from French Top 14, 5 from the English Premiership and 1 each from French Pro D2, United Rugby Championship, Japan Rugby League One and Super Rugby. There are 10 uncapped players named amongst the experienced overseas-based Flying Fijians.

With niggling injuries to a few players, Coach Raiwalui will await the outcome of this weekend’s quarterfinal clash between the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua and the Crusaders before naming the final squad of 38 that marches into camp later this month.t

“I think it’s a great balance of players in the team. We know the different systems they play in especially the Sire Shipping Drua judging from the results that they have produced this year. Making the quarterfinals in their second year only makes my selection of the team a daunting exercise. All those selected from overseas or local, deserve to be in the Fiji Water Flying Fijians squad” said Raiwalui.

The 12 front rowers in the squad consist of loosehead props Peni Ravai {Queensland Reds}, Eroni Mawi {Saracens}, Haereti Hetet {Fijian Drua}, Meli Tuni {Fijian Drua}, hookers Sam Matavesi {Northampton Saints}, Tevita Ikanivere {Fijian Drua}, Zuriel Togiatama {Fijian Drua}, Mesulame Dolokoto {Fijian Drua} and tighthead props Mesake Doge {Fijian Drua}, Luke Tagi {Provence Rugby}, Samu Tawake {Fijian Drua}, Jone Koroiduadua {Fijian Drua}.

41 cap Flying Fijian lock Apisalome Ratuniyarawa {London Irish}, has been named in the second row alongside Isoa Nasilasila {Fijian Drua} and Temo Mayanavanua {Lyon}. The utility forwards are packed with experience with the likes of Albert Tuisue {Gloucester}, Peceli Yato {Clermont} and Drua pack of Lekima Tagitagivalu, Joseva Tamani and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

The robust back row experience of Levani Botia {La Rochelle}, Viliame Mata {Edinburgh} and Kitione Kamikamica will guide young Meli Derenalagi {Fijian Drua}, and Vilive Miramira {Fijian Drua}.

An all-Fijian Drua halfback trio of Frank Lomani, Simione Kuruvoli and Peni Matawalu have been named in the wider squad, Teti Tela {Fijian Drua}, Caleb Muntz {Fijian Drua} and Ben Volavola {Racing 92} as fly-halfs.

The line-breakers creating opportunities in midfield are Josua Tuisova {Lyon}, Kalaveti Ravouvou {Fijian Drua}, Adrea Cocagi {Fijian Drua}, Waisea Nayacalevu {Toulon}, Iosefo Masi {Fijian Drua}, and Seta Tamanivalu {Toshiba Brave}.

Coach Raiwalui has also roped in specialist players in the Back three who have been in their best form for their clubs. Vinaya Habosi {Racing 92}, Jiuta Wainiqolo {Toulon}, Selestino Ravutaumada {Fijian Drua}, Ilaisa Drosese {Fijian Drua} and Setareki Tuicuvu {Brive} have all been included in to the extended squad. Semi Radradra {Bristol Bears}, Sireli Maqala {Bayonne} and Vilimoni Botitu {Castres} are named as utility backs.

The Fiji Water Flying Fijians will assemble on the 30th of this month and will be based in Taveuni for a week.

Coach Raiwalui said having the first week of camp in Taveuni is what he had initially planned when he got the role and believes it is something the whole team will be looking forward to later this month.

“We are going to Taveuni which is going to be a unique experience, no five-star hotel, no luxuries, live amongst the people and connect with them. We obviously will be there for a mission but part of it is reconnecting with who we are as Fijians and why we are the Fiji Water Flying Fijians and what is the goal” he said.

The Fiji Water Flying Fijians have a busy schedule ahead of their opening RWC match against Wales on the 10th of September. Raiwalui has further added he has the right set of players who will be able to deliver results as they progress toward RWC.

“The ultimate goal is the Rugby World Cup. We got Tonga first here at home and they are a well-experienced team as they got some new players this year. Then we move on to Samoa and Japan. Those matches are in our region. We have a week off and then we will fly to Europe to play France and England which are great matches to play leading into the World Cup” said Raiwalui.

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