Flying Fijians

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Levani Botia, who captained Fiji against the All Blacks in July, will undergo a knee operation this month and has been replaced by Apisai Naqalevu.

Hooker Peni Narisia has been replaced by Zuriel Togiatama after suffering a calf injury, while veteran lock Api Ratuniyarawa has been called in to replace flanker Peceli Yato, who injured his knee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

Key players join Fiji camp ahead of 2nd All Blacks test

Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani, who was a regular on the wing during the recent Super Rugby season, arrived into camp last night, while Brisbane based halfback Moses Sorovi and first five Teti Tela joined the squad earlier in the week.

Quarantine free travel to from Melbourne to New Zealand resumed at midnight Sunday, with Brisbane following suit 24 hours later. Passengers must return a

negative Covid test 72 hours before departure.

Coles on a roll in All Blacks victory

The All Blacks were expecting a much stiffer contest than in their 102-0 romp against a weakened Tonga side last week, and the Fijians delivered with a physical challenge their hosts struggled to contain at times.

While a home win never really looked in doubt, five-pointers for the Fijians from Albert Tuisue and Mesulame Kunavula as well as a penalty try will give New Zealand coach Ian Foster much to ponder ahead of next week's second test in Hamilton.

"I'm pretty pleased really. They offered a pretty stern challenge.

Strong Fijian side excited to take on the All Blacks

The All Blacks will host Fiji in Dunedin on Saturday 10 July - the same location where they last fought in 2011.

Utility back Nemani Nadolo said these opportunities to play against the best do not come often for Pacific teams and that it will be a special moment for all the Fijian players.

"We're under no illusion that this is going to be an easy game. It's going to test us both mentality and physically," he said.

"Our coaching staff are doing their best to prepare us and we, ourselves, are doing as much as we can to be ready for this game."

Fit and Flying: Manasa Mataele ready for Fiji debut

The Suva-born winger was first approached by Fiji ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and then prior to their European tour last year.

But after two years of injury struggles, which included tearing his right ACL and a pectoral tear in 2020, Mataele said he wanted to be back to his best before taking on the challenge.

"For me personally I want to get into the groove of things where I'm playing good rugby, I'm playing rugby on back to back weeks and gaining that confidence back and then get to that international stage," he said.