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Tough Challenge Ahead For Flying Fijian Props

There are lots of young and local props in the squad which is good. But all of us need to work hard, get tough, keep up, commit to our training programme and give our 100 per cent-Manasa Saulo
25 Jun 2019 17:57
Tough Challenge Ahead For Flying Fijian Props
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians prop Manasa Saulo at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on June 22, 2019. Photo: Anasilini Natoga

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians prop Manasa Saulo knows the challenge will be tough if he is to make his second Rugby World Cup.

But he is ready to do the extra yards to get the nod for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan when the 42-member squad camp on Monday.

The 30 year old Wainawaqa, Naitasiri native, who plays for the newly promoted Premiership Rugby club London Irish in England, knows the challenge from the local and young props like Luke Tagi, Eroni Mawi, Kalivate Tawake and Joeli Veitayaki.

Saulo, Campese Ma’afu and Leeroy Atalifo are the surviving props who performed extremely well at the 2015 RWC.

“There are lots of young local props in the squad which is good,”Saulo said.

“But all of us will need to work hard, get tough, commit to our training programme and give our 100 per cent.

“Having Australia, Wales, Uruguay and Georgia in our pool would be tough.

“But we need to prepare well and trust our coaches and management.”

The tighthead prop, who weighs 128kg, said there were a lot of good players coming out from provincial competitions.

Saulo said he would need to improve on his work rate to keep up.

Seniloli ready for camp

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Henry Seniloli is looking forward to the camp on Monday ahead of the Pacific Test Series against the Maori All Blacks, Pacific Nations Cup.

Seniloli was part of the Swire Shipping Fijian Latui side for the past three weeks and also played against the Western Force in the Global Rapid Rugby final last weekend in Perth.

England based Doncaster Knights halfback said it’s always good to be home and training with the young players.

“We’ve been looking forward to the camp next month as we prepare for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

He added being part of the two weeks camp with Latui has given him a fair idea about the competition level form the local players vying for a spot in the Flying Fijians team.

“The pathway programme is very good and the local boys have put their hands up for selection. They have been playing well in the local tournaments and for the Fijian Latui team. ”

Head coach John McKee has named four experienced halfbacks in his extended squad which includes Seniloli, Frank Lomani, Serupepeli Vularika and Glasgow Warriors based Nikola Matawalu.

Seniloli highlighted: There are four halfbacks so whoever trains and plays well will be given the spot in the team. I have been with the Fijian Latui side for three weeks and it’s good that I have acclimatized well.”

The Flying Fijians face the Maori All Blacks on the July 13 at ANZ Stadium before the return match in Rotorua on July 20, Japan in Kamaishi on July 27, Canada on August 5 and Samoa on August 10a at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

The final build up match will be against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland on August 31 before the team departs for Japan on September 6.

SQUAD

Props: Leeroy Atilifo, Campese Ma’afu, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Luke Tagi, Kalivati Tawake, Joeli Veitayaki

Hookers: Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Tuvere Vugakoto

Locks: Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Albert Tuisue

Backrow: Johnny Dyer, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Nemani Nagusa, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato

Halfbacks: Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henri Senioli, Serupepeli Vularika

Flyhalves: Ben Volavola, Alivereti Veitokani

Centres: Levani Botia, Sevanaia Galala, Semi Radradra, Jale Vatubua,

Utility Back: Josh Matavesi

Wingers: Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Patrick Osbourne, Eroni Sau, Josua Tuisova

Fullbacks: Kini Murimurivalu, Seta Tuicuvu. -Edited by Osea Bola

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