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Our Best

Rasolea pushes her way in as seruvakula names fijiana line-up against England
07 Oct 2022 15:00
Our Best
Fijiana XVs tighthead prop Siteri Rasolea {left), with assistant Fijiana coach, Greg Smith. Photo: FRU Media

Qeensland Reds prop Siteri Rasolea has pushed her way into the maiden Rooster Chicken Fijiana XV side that will take on England in the team’s first Rugby World Cup tomorrow at 3:45pm in New Zealand.

“She’s (Rasolea) been training well the past two weeks: she has been doing everything right and that’s why we have given her first Test for the Fijiana,” coach Senirusi Seru­vakula said yesterday after naming a strong 23-member Fijiana side.

“All the players are the same, it’s just Rasolea. It’s her first time to play. She is one of the players whom we want to see how she will go against England,” he said.

Rasolea is the third in her fam­ily to don the white jersey; her dad, Solomone, was a first five-eighth for Nadi and the Flying Fijians in the 1980s: her brother Junior, was a Fi­jian Under-20 rep.

“We understand the England pack will be strong and heavy especially in the set pieces, so we have shifted Sereima Leweniqila (captain) to add depth into the forwards. Both Sereima and Asinate (Serevi) are both mobile, we need that,” Rasolea said.

“Last week when we arrived, it was tough on us. But now, everyone is adapting to training in the cold weather in Auckland.”

Captain Leweniqila said: “I have faith in the girls; I know they (Eng­land) want it as well. We’re chosen and I know we will play our hearts out.

“One of the advantages is we got nothing to lose, they have never played us; we don’t know who we are playing against as well, this journey is new.

“Just like our coach, he believes, and we believe that nothing is im­possible; we’re ready to get out there.”

Brumbies loosehead prop Iris Ver­ebalavu starts in the front row with Vika Matarugu as hooker. Rasolea is at tighthead.

Skipper Leweniqila shifts from her usual number 8 position to locks, partnering Serevi.

Among the experienced players, 19-year-old Netherland-based Su­lita Waisega is at blindside flanker, with Ema Adivitaloga at openside. Karalaini Naisea is at number 8.

Seruvakula further said: “We coaches have selected a strong side to play against England because we believe they are mostly a forwards­oriented team therefore we are fielding our best available players in this area.”

In the backline, three Fijian 7s players make the cut in the run-on team to spice up the Fijian flair.

Lavena Cavuru and Merewalesi Rokouono share the halves position while Sesenieli Donu and Raijieli Laqeretabua control play from the midfield.

Evasive winger Vitalina Naikore is on the left side: Alowesi Nakoci is on the right. Roela Radiniyavuni will take control at fullback.

Seruvakula added that England would come with guns blazing, but his side would be ready to face all the hurdles and give their best shot on the day. Fijiana takes on England at 3.45pm (Fiji time) at Auckland’s Eden Park tomorrow. Capture303Capture11651


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