Flying Fijians

The Fiji reaction to losing assistant Jason Ryan to the All Blacks

The assistant has been working with the Pacific Islanders since 2020 and had been signed until the 2023 Rugby World Cup finals in France. 

However, he will now be at that tournament as an All Blacks assistant after he was recruited last weekend by New Zealand Rugby when they opted to bring in Ryan to assist Ian Foster and jettison John Plumtree and Brad Mooar. 

Reality check for Fiji as Aussies win

Numerous handling errors and general play issues contributed to Fiji’s loss – a side that was given a reality check by Australia A, who played basic structured rugby to disrupt the Fijian side who had made 11 changes.

The Aussies were a totally different side bringing the game to Fiji who were at times under pressure.

Fiji who had looked to back its big performance last week against Tonga got off to a perfect start drawing first blood through the boot of Teti Tela.

Flying Fijians Captain to team up with a debutant in midfield

The 32 year old will lead the side in his 20th outing for Fiji and he’s excited about his partnership with young Fijian Drua star Kalaveti Ravouvou.

Nayacalevu said Ravouvou deserves his starting role and believes the rookie will bring something new.

”As you can see in the Drua what he can do, we’ve trained together through the weeks and things are going smoothly, hope to see some exciting things to happen this weekend”.

Another midfield veteran, Levani Botia, believes Ravouvou has a promising future in the number 12 jersey.

Former All Blacks, Seta Tamanivalu named in Flying Fijians squad

Tamanivalu is the first Fijian player to join the Flying Fijians following the change in World Rugby eligibility rules in November 2021.

The squad also includes 16 players from the Fijian Drua, who will feature alongside other Super Rugby Pacific and Europe-based stars for their country.

“It’s very exciting and a real honour for us to present the first Flying Fijians squad of 2022 to the Fijian people”, Flying Fijians  Coach, Vern Cotter said.

Test review: coach unhappy with Flying Fijians' results

With the completion of the tour, Cotter said they could have done much better.

The Flying Fijians won their first game 43-13 against Spain, lost to Wales 23-38, and were held 15-all by Georgia.

Cotter said the key theme coming out of the Wales match was discipline.

Winger Eroni Sau was suspended for five weeks following his red card for a dangerous tackle in the game, but Fiji also picked up two yellow cards in Cardiff.

Cotter says the squad has to get its attitude and mindset sorted out, and follow a good game with another top-notch performance.

Flying Fijians include five new caps to face Spain

Tokyo Olympics sevens gold medallists Aminiasi Tuimaba, Jiuta Wainiqolo and Vilimoni Botitu will start on the wings and at centre.

Meanwhile, 2016 gold medallist Masivesi Dakuwaqa and 20-year-old Stade Francais hooker Henry Spring are set to make their test debut off the bench.

Interim Flying Fijians head coach Gareth Baber knows Tuimaba, Wainiqolo and Botitu well from his five years' in charge of the sevens programme.

Flying Fijians make injury enforced changes to tour squad

Star midfielder Levani Botia, who captained Fiji against the All Blacks in July, will undergo a knee operation this month and has been replaced by Apisai Naqalevu.

Hooker Peni Narisia has been replaced by Zuriel Togiatama after suffering a calf injury, while veteran lock Api Ratuniyarawa has been called in to replace flanker Peceli Yato, who injured his knee playing for Clermont at the weekend.

Biarritz back-rower Johnny Dyer has also pulled out of the tour for personal reasons and the coaching staff is still weighing up whether to call in another player.

Vern Cotter working closely with interim Fiji coaches for Northern tour

Covid-19 travel restrictions have prevented Fiji's New Zealand-based coaching staff from travelling to Europe, with outgoing Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber to lead an interim coaching panel next month.

Cotter said it was a unique situation but they have managed to assemble a team to work with the squad on the ground.

"I got in touch with Duncan Hodge, who was my assistant in Scotland from years ago, Cotter explained.

Fiji select northern based squad and staff for November tour

Fiji Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer John O'Connor said after taking into consideration the challenges associated with Covid-19 including travel and quarantine restrictions, they have decided not to select any Southern Hemisphere based players or staff.

"We could have made arrangements for management and players to travel to for the Northern tour but we were not able to guarantee their return with the unavailability of MIQ spots in Australia and New Zealand," he said.

Flying Fijians relish second shot at All Blacks

Despite matching up to the All Blacks physically and winning a number of penalties up front, coach Vern Cotter said his side will need to much better in the second test.

"Yeah we got a few turnovers. We got penalised a few times as well, so we definitely want to take away those penalties that are unnecessary - we still want to be competitive in that area.

"Different field, different conditions this weekend - we'll adapt to what we need to do to defend well, look for those turnovers but also not give away penalties, so it's going to be a balance between that."