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Flying Fijians To Go To No.8?

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians historic 21-14 win over France at the Stade de France in Paris, could mean a rise in the World Rugby rankings. The Flying Fijians are
26 Nov 2018 10:19
Flying Fijians To Go To No.8?
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians centre Semi Radradra shows his joy after scoring the first try against France on their way to a historic 21-14 win at the Stade de France in Paris on November 25, 2018

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians historic 21-14 win over France at the Stade de France in Paris, could mean a rise in the World Rugby rankings.

The Flying Fijians are currently ranked 10th while France are at 8 and the win yesterday could see the John McKee-coached side move up two notches.

The World Rugby ranking is to be finalised today.

“It was a  great  victory,” McKee  said.

‘We had two tries disallowed but we also missed other opportunites as well.”
GREAT PERFORMANCE: PM

Here in Suva, Prime Minister and Fiji Rugby Union president Voreqe Bainimarama told SUNsports: “We are all proud of our team and what the coaching panel has done to uplift our performance after we had lost to Scotland.

“But we beat the French in France, Lovely win and congratulations to the coach, management and everyone that played today.

“Again we made history playing in freezing weather and at night.”

 

PROUD FIJIANS: CHAIRMAN

FRU board chairman Francis Kean said: “Greatest appreciation to Dominiko (Waqaniburotu) and the team. Gallant effort, which has made all Fijians proud.

“Big thanks to (John) McKee and his coaching panel plus CEO (John) O’Connor and staff at FRU for the support behind the scene.

“Highest thanks to all our sponsors especially our major sponsors Fiji Airways and the unending support from Government.

“Lastly, a thank you to all Fijians at home and abroad, for their support and prayers.”

 

TEAM WORK: CEO

FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor stated: “We are very proud of the performance of the team and I believe every Fijian supporter including the players’ family are proud today.

“They have become the first Flying Fijians team to beat France. They have created history.

“In recent times, while we have beaten Tier 1 Nations at home, this is the first time we have between a top Tier 1 test nation while on tour.

“I would like to also acknowledge and thank the president of FRU, the FRU board, affiliate members and all staff members of FRU who work quietly behind the scene and without whose support, such performance would not be possible.”

O’Connor highlighted that for the win, they would also like to honour their sponsors and likewise Government, Fiji National Sports Commission and World Rugby (Peter Horne) for the continued funding assistance which allowed the team to prepare well.

“The team’s performance is a very good platform for our build- up towards the World Cup, which is next year.”

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians (left-right) Manasa Saulo, Vereniki Goneva, Eroni Sau acknowledge the Fijian supporters in the crowd at Stade de France in Paris after beating France 21-14 on November 25, 2018.  HOW OUR PLAYERS RATED on page 36

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians (left-right) Manasa Saulo, Vereniki Goneva, Eroni Sau acknowledge the Fijian supporters in the crowd at Stade de France in Paris after beating France 21-14 on November 25, 2018.

HOW OUR PLAYERS RATED

  1. Campese Ma’afu: Powerful in the scrums and used his experience to turn things into the Flying Fijians advantage. 7/10
  2. Samuel Matavesi: Our first choice hooker, made several turnovers at crucial times. He has to work on the timing of his throws to connect with the jumpers. 8/10
  3. Manasa Saulo: Strong in the scrum but needs to work on his fitness and general play. 6/10
  4. Tevita Cavubati: He needs to cut out silly mistakes which could prove costly to the team.

TMO reviews of his late charge saw Josua Tuisova’s try being disallowed. A talented player but will develop with more game time. 7/10

  1. Leone Nakarawa: A worker and always in the thick of things. Unfortunately, he dropped the ball after an unexpected pass from Cavubati. 7/10
  2. Dominiko Waqaniburotu: Led by example from the front and was always questioning the referee when decisions did not go our way. 8/10
  3. Peceli Yato: Our enforcer who terrorised the French backline throughout the 80 minutes of play. The Nadroga native is now putting his claim on the No.7 jersey for next year’s World Cup. 9/10
  4. Viliame Mata: Had a quiet game and did everything that was needed of him until he left the fielded with a knock on his knee. 7/10
  5. Frank Lomani: Strong in defence. With more game time, he is improving but needs to work hard with Nikola Matawalu now finding his form while playing club rugby in Europe. 7/10
  6. Ben Volavola: A mixed performance. Ben made some good runs but then messed it up with blunders like kicking the ball out on the full and dropping a pass from Nakarawa, right on his goal-line which the French took advantage of to score their second try. 6/10
  7. Vereniki Goneva: Gets better every time he puts on the white jumper.

It was unfortunate that he was denied a try in the first half. Defended well and used his experience well during pressure situations.  8/10

  1. Jale Vatubua: A strong game with tenacious tackles and powerful runs. Has settled well at inside centre and will be one of our power weapons at the World Cup. 8/10
  2. Semi Radradra: A class above his opponents. A powerful runner and good with high balls. 8/10
  3. Josua Tuisova: Lifted his game and showed what he is made of. 8/10
  4. Metuisela Talebula: Had a quiet game but was safe at the back. 7/10.

 – Edited by Jonathan Bryce
 Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

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