Analysis | SPORTS

Fiji Fans Showed Up And The Flying Fijians Delivered, 62 Year Wait Over

Man of the match Botia played a solid game devastating in attack, stern in defence and with his stocky physique made a few turnovers.
14 Jul 2019 13:29
Fiji Fans Showed Up And The Flying Fijians Delivered, 62 Year Wait Over
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians No.8 Viliame Mata dives over to score the second try against the Maori All Blacks at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on July 13, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Analysis:

We could not have asked for anything better and after 62 years, we got it.

The Fiji Rugby Union pleaded for fans to turn up and support the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians World Cup campaign. They got it, with ANZ Stadium jam –packed with fans yesterday.

Fans pay to watch top of the table clash, they got it, with the Flying Fijians outmuscling the Maori All Blacks 27-10.

Fans want our men to avenge the 27-26 defeat at the same venue four years ago, they got it, with our men winning the collision battle and making every tackle count emptying the tank at Laucala.

Our men proved that we are not the dark horse anymore in the RWC by beating a quality side like the Maori All Blacks.

We proved that our 9th ranking is justified and beating France 21-14 last November was a valid gauge now on where we stand in the world of rugby.

PASSION & PRIDE

Seldom you see fans making their way into the ground before halftime but this just shows the amount of passion and pride they have for our Flying Fijians and it’s great to see a test-rugby crowd returning to the capital and simultaneously joining the campaign.

Our new backline centre pairing of Levani Botia and Waisea Nayacalevu proved their calling and throwing a challenge to regulars Jale Vatubua and Semi Radradra who are likely to play in the return match in Rotorua next week.

Man of the match Botia played a solid game devastating in attack, stern in defence and with his stocky physique made a few turnovers.

Brothers on the wings Josua Tuisova and Filipo Nakosi proved their worth and their bulldozing runs were quite special to watch.

FUTURE

Whether it was the call from coach John McKee or Waqaniburotu, the decision to call for a scrum five metres from in front of the goalposts was a bold move and it shows that the team was confident of scoring a try than kicking for penalty.

Seldom you see No. 10 Ben Volavola replaced but McKee definitely wants more games time for Alivereti Veitokani and this augurs well for the future.

The 4 tries-to-2 performance was a brilliant start to our RWC preparation campaign with five tests to go before our men depart for the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan) on September 6.

The teams square off again in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Saturday night, for what looms as an interesting rematch and we can only build from thereon.

PLAYER RATINGS

Here’s how we rate our Flying Fijians.

1, Peni Ravai- Solid upfront, stern in defence: 7.5/10

2. Sam Matavesi- Needs to find his target in the lineout but splendid overall in general play, always in the thick of battle: 6.5/10

3. Manasa Saulo- Workhorse upfront but needs more game time: 6-5/10

4. Albert Tuisue- Tireless, work rate good, has the upper hand in the collision battle: 7/10

5.Leone Nakarawa- Another good performance from our offloading giant: 8/10

6.Dominiko Waqaniburotu-Leads by example, commands respect, brutal in defence: 8/10

7. Semi Kunatani- Linking up and did his job well: 7/10

8. Viliame Mata- Gained a lot of metres on attack and always close to action resulting in him scoring a try: 7.5/10

9. Frank Lomani- Good performance, needs to up pace of game: 6.5/10

10. Ben Volavola- Call the shots and passing game excellent resulting in try to Alivereti Veitokani but needs to work on his kicking game: 7/10

11. Filipo Nakosi- Grand debut, tireless, brutal in defence and attack: 7.5/10

12. Levani Botia- A man of the match performance, stern in the defence and making a few turnovers: 8.5/10

13. Waisea Nayacalevu- Read the game well, lethal in attack, brutal in defence: 7.5/10

14, Josua Tuisova- A solid game, takes some stopping, good defensively.: 7.5/10

15. Alivereti Veitokani- Elusive, cover his ground well, good on the counterattack: 8/ 10.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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