ANALYSIS: Damn Close For Our Flying Fijians

The Vodafone Flying Fijians were given the perfect grind before they face Scotland in Suva this Saturday. They will need to put on a much more polished performance if they
18 Jun 2017 10:29
ANALYSIS: Damn Close For Our Flying Fijians
Fiji Vs Italy test match June 17 2017. Photos Bruce Southwick/ Zoomfiji

The Vodafone Flying Fijians were given the perfect grind before they face Scotland in Suva this Saturday.

They will need to put on a much more polished performance if they are to match the sixth ranked nation in the world who claimed a major scalp after beating the Wallabies 24-19 yesterday.

Up against the 15th ranked nation, the John McKee –coached side were tested. They won by a whisker after first five-eighth Ben Volavola landed a drop goal at the death for the 22-19 win.

Outscoring the Azzurri three tries to one, the Italians played to their strength although boring at times.

While the fans were expecting a runaway victory after tries to Eroni Vasiteri and Jale Vatubua earlier on, the Italians start-stop tactics and powerful work in the scrums worked to their advantage to keep them in fighting chance.

But credit to our prop forwards Kalivati Tawake and Peni Ravai for fronting up.

It was Tawake’s second cap and first start for the Flying Fijians and holding his own against an opponent who played for so many times in the Six Nations competition should be a learning experience for the Yasawa native.

Ravai played his second game as a tight-head prop and it was not easy after playing loose-head in his career. But it is good that McKee has somebody to fall back on when London-Irish –bound Manasa Saulo is not available.

Scrummaging is an area we badly lack on and more polish needed before we face the Scots.

We can’t afford to leave it late again against the Scots although credit must go the pack for exerting pressure when it matters which allowed Volavola to boot the winning points.

Here’s  how we rate our Flying Fijians:

15: Kini Murimurivalu- 7.5

Safe and sound as the last man in defence,good positional play.

  1. Timoci Nagusa -7.5

Communicating more with players and good all -round display.

13, Jale Vatubua -6.5

Learning and gelling fast with the team in his second game, work in progress.

  1. Eroni Vasiteri -7

Powerful runner, stern in defence.

  1. Vereniki Goneva-8

Organiser, nose for space, always creates opportunities out of nothing.

  1. Ben Volavola -8.5

Good kicking game, needs to call the shots more when the team is on the ascendancy.

  1. Serupepeli Vularika-6.5

Big effort, needs to communicate more on next phase/direction of attack.

  1. Nemani Nagusa -6.5

Good spell, strong in defence, needs to keep his cool,  ball handling.

  1. Akapusi Qera -7.5

Led by example, almost a faultless game.

  1. Dominiko Waqaniburotu-6.5

Brave effort in defence, sound all –round game.

  1. Leone Nakarawa-8.5

Giant of an effort, another good, solid  performance.

  1. Api Ratuniyarawa-7

Always an asset to the pack.

3.Kalivati Tawake-7

Brave effort, proved his worth in his first start

  1. Tuapati Talemaitoga-6.5

Sound general play.

1, Peni Ravai- 7.5

Fared well in his second game at tight-head.

  1. Joeli Veitayaki-7

Strong game after he replaced Ravai.

  1. Manasa Saulo-7.5

Lifted the tempo, brought stability upfront, good ball carry.

19,  Tevita Cavubati-6.5

Lifted the game with his strong runs and good defence.

20 Viliame Mata-6

Making his mark in defence and in the lineouts.

21-Mosese Voka-5

Good defender.

  1. Nikola Matawalu-5

Need to improve on his decision-making, passing game.

23-Benito Masilevu-6.5

Another strong all-round performance.

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