Flying Fijians

Cotter calls in 7 of his Flying Fijians to bolster Barbarians squad for England clash

Barbarians coach Vern Cotter has drafted in seven of his Fiji players who will link up with the rest of the Pacific Islands nations squad for the Autumn international series after the Twickenham match, which takes place just 24 hours after the Gallagher Premiership play-off final between Wasps and Heineken Champions Cup winners Exeter.

Saracens are supplying 11 players, headed by ex-England scrum half Richard Wigglesworth and Scotland wing Sean Maitland.

Flying Fijians coaching team confirmed

Former New South Wales Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson, current Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan and former test referee Glen Jackson have signed on to help their Kiwi compatriot, while breakdown specialist Richie Gray previously worked with Cotter during his time in charge of Scotland and Montpellier.

Fiji skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu left looking for a new club

The 34-year-old hooked up with the Top 14 club on a one-season deal following the 2019 World Cup in Japan, but he has not had the best of times, making just four league appearances (and one in the Challenge Cup) in an injury-hit campaign that was officially terminated on Thursday by French officials due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

11 debutants in Fiji squad to face Barbarians

Manawatu prop Samuela Tawake, Northland lock Temo Mayanavanua, Queensland Reds first five Teti Tela and Fijian Drua outside backs Jiuta Wainiqolo and Enele Malele have been selected in the starting fifteen, which includes eight members of the Fijian Drua team that reached the semi finals of the Australian National Rugby Championship.

Another Five Drua players are poised to make their international debut off the bench at Twickenham, along with Edinburgh flanker and former Fiji sevens star Mesulame Kunavula.

Sam Matavesi in social media plea after his Fijian World Cup kit is stolen in London car park theft

The hooker, who plays for Cornish Pirates in the English Championship, started for the Fijians in their matches versus Australia, Georgia and Wales and came off the bench in their other pool game versus Uruguay at the finals in Japan. 

It capped an incredible year so far for Matavesi, who also featured for Toulouse this year as a short-term medical cover signing towards the end of the Top 14 season. 

However, the 27-year-old has now taken to social media in the hope that some treasured possessions collected in Japan can be returned to him. 

'We will certainly use 2007 as a reference point... history can inspire us'

McKee’s team end their group campaign against Wales, having beaten Georgia, but lost to Uruguay and Australia. “There is a lot at stake for Wales, and they want to finish top of the pool in their passage to the play-offs (quarter-finals),” Fiji head coach McKee said.

“For us, it’s an opportunity. We know what a good team Wales are and what a challenge playing them will be. One thing with Wales and the strength of their team is that they have a number of options. They don’t play one way.

Fiji not looking past Wales

Victory would ensure automatic qualification for the next World Cup and also keep alive their faint hopes of advancing to the quarter finals.

But coach John McKee said they're not looking beyond the 80 minutes on the field at Oita Stadium.

"The players are very much focused on their performance in the game because, as players and as a team, what we can control is how we perform," McKee said.

"We look for our top performance and, if we can put in our top performance, then those other things look after themselves."

Fiji make one change for Wales

Viliame Mata replaces Peceli Yato at number eight. In the reserves, prop Eroni Mawi has been swapped with Lee-Roy Atalifo in the only other change to the 23 that comprehensively thrashed Georgia in Osaka, 45-10.

Fiji's quarter final hopes are effectively over after earlier defeats by Australia and Uruguay but head coach John McKee said his squad was determined to sign off from the tournament with a positive result.

"We see this final pool game as both a challenge and an opportunity. It is important to finish the pool stage on a high note," he said.

Flying Fijians all smiles after win over Georgia

Fiji scored six of their seven tries after half-time to secure a vital bonus point win, with man of the match Semi Radradra scoring twice and setting up three other tries.

Coach John McKee said the whole squad was determined to make amends after last week's defeat against Uruguay.

"Our boys were bitterly disappointed and they really wanted to make a statement today," McKee said.

Upset Fiji fans turn on coach John McKee

After losing to Australia last Saturday, Fiji were shocked by an impassioned Uruguay side, who took a 24-12 half-time lead and managed to hold onto a 30-27 win. 

Boasting some world-class players, Fiji were tipped by many to cause some upsets at this year’s RWC with the Wallabies and Wales also in their pool. However, their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals now look very slim.