Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Fiji missing key pair for Rugby World Cup game against Wales

Fiji will be without suspended wing Nemani Nadolo and injured scrum-half Niko Matawalu for their Rugby World Cup clash against Wales on Thursday.

Coach John McKee has made six changes for the Millennium Stadium encounter, with Fiji seeking their first Pool A win, while unbeaten Wales are edging towards a quarter-final place.

Nadolo is serving a one-match ban after being cited for a dangerous tackle in the game against Australia earlier this month.

" After two hard games against England and Australia in a short turnaround, we've got a number of bruised bodies," McKee said.

"We were always going to make some changes for this game, so the team we have picked are all 100 per cent fit and that was part of the criteria.

" We have good depth in our squad, and it is a very strong team we have picked for this game. We believe it is one that will be especially suited to playing against Wales."

Ca ptain Akapusi Qera, meanwhile, will become the third Fiji player to win 50 caps for his country after Nicky Little and Seremaia Bai.

McKee added: " This is a very important game in terms of the pool for Wales, but it's also an important game for us.

"Although the quarter-finals are beyond us, third place in the pool is still a very important position as it automatically qualifies you for the next World Cup.

"So there is still a lot for us to play for, with a lot on the line in this game for both teams."

And asked if he would use Fiji's 2007 World Cup win against Wales in Nantes - it was a result that knocked Wales out of the tournament - as player motivation, McKee said: " I wouldn't discount that we maybe use some of the images from 2007 in our preparation to just remind the players.

"It doesn't influence the outcome of this game, but it's always good to use those images to help motivate the players."

Fiji team (versus Wales): M Talebula; T Nagusa, V Goneva, L Botia, A Tikoirotuma; B Volavola, N Kenatale; C Ma'afu, S Koto, M Saulo, T Cavubati, L Nakarawa, D Waqaniburotu, A Qera (capt), N Talei.

Replacements: V Veikoso, P Ravia, L Atalifo, N Soqeta, M Ravulo, H Seniloli, J Matavesi, K Murimurivalu.


From Belfast Telegraph