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Fiji rue absence of suspended Nemani Nadolo for Wales match

Fiji captain Akapusi Qera accepts that the absence of Nemani Nadolo is "a massive loss" for his team in Thursday's World Cup clash against Wales.

Powerful strike runner and goalkicker Nadolo must sit out the Millennium Stadium encounter due to a one-match ban imposed for a dangerous tackle when Fiji lost to Pool A opponents Australia seven days ago.

And his unavailability, together with that of injured scrum-half star Niko Matawalu, has unquestionably increased Fiji's degree of difficulty against a team they have never beaten in Wales.

"Losing Nemani is a massive loss for us," Qera said.

"He is one of our consistent kickers and he has big boots to fill, but I know the other boys have an opportunity, and they will grab it with both hands.

" We need to play the best we can to compete with Wales on Thursday."

Fiji's quarter-final hopes have effectively disappeared on the back of successive reversals against England and Australia, while third place and automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan is also pretty much beyond them.

But that scenario will not stop the South Sea Islanders, who knocked Wales out of the 2007 World Cup following a thrilling pool stage win in Nantes, from trying to push Sam Warburton's team all the way.

Fiji head coach John McKee said: " For us, we have to concentrate on what we need to do in the game, our game-plan and our execution.

"Wales have had a lot of injuries, but they got a great result against England and you can't discount a team because they've had injuries.

"One of the things that really showed against England was the tremendous spirit they have in that team, and the fight to get a result. How they hung in there at times and finished very strongly.

"Sometimes, adversity in terms of injuries can strengthen a group, so I don't see any weakness in Wales because they have had to pull in other players or they've had injuries."

Fiji's last Millennium Stadium visit 10 months ago resulted in a 17-13 defeat, but only after Wales suffered a major fright, and McKee added: " We are a better team now than we were last November.

"We've got the core group from then, and through our work in preparation for this World Cup we are a better team. But we know Wales are as well.

"That result gives us some confidence going into the game because we know we can compete really well with them, and we know we need to be at our absolute best on the night to be competitive."


From Belfast Telegraph