Flying Fijians retain winning team for Georgia

The Flying Fijians have signalled they are serious about defeating Georgia by naming their best lineup for Sunday morning's (NZ Time) Rugby World Cup pool C battle at the Stade de Bordeaux.

Winger Selesitino Ravutaumada was the lone change in the Flying Fijians' starting lineup, while Samu Tawake was named on the bench.

Ravutaumada replaced Jiuta Wainiqolo and Tawake came in for Mesake Doge.

Both Wainiqolo and Doge were injured and have been rested.

Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui kept 14 players in the starting lineup from the team that beat Australia two weekends ago in Saint Etienne, insisting on consistency.

He said Georgia will not be easy, and they have named their team accordingly.

"It's going to be a physical game, we know them quite well, we've played them quite often. They are a very proud team, they will come out and be very physical. Set piece will be a big challenge as well," Raiwalui told the media in Bordeaux on Friday morning.

"They're a very good team. They're fit, they've obviously prepared well. They're a very physical team, they love to play with that physicality, something that we like to do as well.

"We're at similar stages of our development, we're looking to get further, move up further with bigger matches outside the World Cup. We have the utmost respect for Georgia and what they're doing and we understand it's going to be a very tough match."

On comments by some fans that Georgia will be easybeats for Fiji, compared to Wales and Australia, Raiwalui said they knew better.

"We don't listen to what other people think about the matches. We take one match at a time and we respect each team that we play. There's no harder or easier games, and Georgia is a very tough team. We've had that mindset since we started, just taking one task at a time."

The two teams drew 15-15 in their last clash in 2021.

Raiwalui said the lineup changes were because of the injury concerns and the need for players to recover fully.

"There's a couple of changes there, obviously Jiuta Wainiqolo had an issue with his ankle and is still recovering from that and Mesake Doge had a HIA [head injury assessment] and Samu Tawake came in for him, so they were the two changes," he said.

"We've gone for consistency with our selections. Jiuta's ankle is still a bit sore, he needs a bit more time and Mesake came out of his HIA protocol yesterday so he's back available for selection."

Utility back Semi Radradra echoed Raiwalui's sentiments and added they will want to wear Georgia down.

"I think we all know Georgia are a tough team, we know what they can bring physically, especially on the front foot," he said.

"So our aim is to weather the storm, to match their physicality as well. We know it's going to be hard, we have to stick to our structure and hopefully we can wear them down."