Fiji Fall Open 2021 – Rugby Final Word

With a Fijian Super Rugby franchise introduced for 2022, the future has arguably never been brighter for the Flying Fijians. Two years away from the Rugby World Cup, Fiji will want to prove themselves at the next Fall International.

Olympic influence

Embed from Getty Images

As is unfortunately always the case with great rugby artists, the Fijians have faced major disruptions in their preparations. Head coach Vern Cotter is unable to travel with the team. As a result, Fiji 7 coach Gareth Baber replaces interim head coach. Baber won’t be the only influx of the 7’s setup, with players like Jiuta Wainiqolo and Masivesi Dakuwaqa transferred to the 15 squad. This could help create a winning culture, following the Olympic gold medal won by the team of 7 earlier this year. However, 15s is certainly a game with much more tactical nuances, so it will be fascinating to see their impact throughout these fall testing.

Fiji Fall Internationals: Key Players

One of the reasons Fiji are the favorite team of all neutrals is the dazzling superstars on display. This team is no different with Leone Nakarawa, Josua Tuisova and Viliame Mata providing obvious star power. Surprisingly for a Fijian team, this is actually an accessory that deserves special attention in the form of Peni Ravai. The Clermont player is arguably one of the best players at his post, with his assault races making him a key player for the French team. Alongside hooker Sam Matavesi, Ravai could help provide a sure centerpiece to unleash their talent on the outside. Meanwhile, scrum-half Frank Lomani was electric for the Northampton Saints, and Albert Tuisue was a key player in the London Irish’s shock victory over the Exeter Chiefs.

Embed from Getty Images

Fiji Fall International:
06 / 11- vs Spain (Madrid, 3pm)
11/14- vs Wales (Cardiff, 3:15 p.m.)
11/20 – vs Georgia (Aranjuez, 3 p.m.)
One point of interest may be the progression of another 7s star, Vilimoni Botitu, who can provide cover halfway through the opening. Ben Volavola is the only 10 specialist in the Fijian squad, but will be 32 at the Rugby World Cup. The Fijians certainly need more options, with some in the Fiji Rugby Union concerned about the lack of playmakers. Botitu has exceptional pace and unloading skills, but would definitely need time to develop as a half international opening. Maybe Baber and Cotter will look to pitch Botitu against Spain or Georgia.

What can Fiji fans hope for this fall?

Fiji are said to have learned a lot from their two tests against New Zealand in July. At the 60th minute of the first Test, Fiji were in the real fight. They were only 8 points behind, with an All Blacks player in the sin-bin. The final score of 57-23 does not reflect how competitive the game was. The 2nd Test, however, was a much more dominant performance for New Zealand, with Fiji having only scored one try in a 60-13 loss. It illustrates how Fiji has the talent and ability to shock top nations, but hope to be more competitive on a consistent basis.

Baber will be hoping to sweep tier two nations Georgia and Spain this fall, but the real litmus test will be against the Welsh in Cardiff. Fiji hasn’t toppled a Tier One nation since 2018, so a win would be incredible. However, the odds are against Fiji killing the 6 nation champions on their own turf. Therefore, a realistic goal would be two wins and a competitive outing in Cardiff.

“Main photo:”
Embed from Getty Images

Source link

About Fredrick Sizemore

Check Also

T-Birds lead Canadian university men’s rugby championship

History links VANCOUVER – It’s that time of year again when the UBC Thunderbirds usually …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *