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REVEALED: New Face In Backs

REVEALED: New Face In Backs
Vodafone Flying Fijian rep Jale Vatubua. Photo: Ronald Kumar
June 09
12:21 2017

Coach John McKee has named three players to make their debut for the Vodafone Flying Fijians against the Wallabies in the first of the five June-July internationals in Melbourne tomorrow.

And returning to where it all started for him and dubbed ‘Monster’ by the Australian media, is Jale Vatubua, McKee’s new face in midfield for the Flying Fijians.

Vatubua started his professional career in Melbourne before the Fijian giant was released by the Rebels. He made his mark for Pau in a star-studded France’s Top 14 competition.

McKee has been keeping a close tab on the giant centre who stands 189cm and weighs 121kg. He played and learned from the best having played alongside and gets good tips from former All Blacks centre Conrad Smith at Pau.

The other debutant is sevens rugby Olympian Viliame Mata whose work rate got him the nod as one of the players for the future.

Mata and Suva prop Kalivati Tawake will start from the bench.

It has been 63 years since the Fijians beat the Wallabies at Sydney Cricket Ground in 1954.

And the Wallabies are expected to stick to their structured rugby and not fight fire with fire playing the Fijian style.

This is despite the inclusion of Henry Speight, Sefanaia Naivalu and Marika Koroibete, who is likely to be named on the bench today by Michael Cheika.

“That’s what we’ve been working on but for this weekend I think we’re just going to play with structure because we know Fijians are very good at unstructured play,” Kuridrani said.

But the Brumbies centre said that didn’t mean they wouldn’t be trying to get the ball to winger Speight and hard-running Koroibete, should he get the bench nod for his first Test cap since switching from rugby league this year.

“Henry and Marika have a lot of speed outside, so it’s a matter of trying to set them up and give them the ball to score tries,” Kuridrani said.

The game kicks off at 5pm tomorrow.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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