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Flying Fijians And New Zealand Maori All Blacks Name Teams For Rotorua Rematch

McKee said wintry conditions in Rotorua would mean quite a different match to the hard, fast and dry ANZ Stadium last weekend.
18 Jul 2019 16:25
Flying Fijians And New Zealand Maori All Blacks Name Teams For Rotorua Rematch
Flying Fijians half-back Henry Seniloli evades Maori All Blacks flanker Mitch Karpik's chase during test match at ANZ Stadium on July 13, 2019.Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fiji Rugby Head Coach John McKee has named a formidable Fiji Airways Flying Fijians side for their final Fiji Airways Pacific Series Test match against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday.

With so much depth in the squad, McKee has made ten changes to its run on side which defeated the Maori All Blacks 27-10 at Suva’s ANZ Stadium last weekend.

McKee said they expect a different and challenging match against the Maori All Blacks.

He added “The host team will want to bounce back on their home territory and turn the tables on us.”

Veteran Prop Campese Ma’afu makes his start for this season together with Naitasiri prop Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto and Lee-Roy Atalifo in the front row.

Former Fiji Under-20 rep Tevita Ratuva will partner up with Apisalome Ratuniyarawa in the locks while Fiji Airways Drua captain Mosese Voka will be on the flanks.

Henry Seniloli starts at half-back and Alivereti Veitokani shifts to fly-half position. Jale Vatubua and Patrick Osbourne return to boost the Flying Fijians fast pace backline.

McKee said it’s important to give all the players the game time ahead of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“It was always the intention across these two matches to give players in our squad opportunity and game time in the lead up to the PNC.”

“It is important that these players grab this chance and make a strong statement,” Coach McKee said.

McKee said wintry conditions in Rotorua would mean quite a different match to the hard, fast and dry ANZ Stadium last weekend.

“We will need to be very patient with the ball to build pressure on the New Zealand Maori. Last week although we made many line breaks we turned over too much ball,” McKee revealed.

“Ball retention and continuity to build pressure and create scoring opportunities when we are in possession along with our consistent work rate and discipline in our defensive system will be the two most important factors for us in this match,” McKee added.

Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor said the players selected for this weekend’s match have the opportunity to stake a spot in the final 31 member squad for RWC in Japan.

“The team understands that we want to improve in every match and are targeting nothing than a win on Saturday so that we can continue to build momentum ahead of the PNC.” O’Connor added.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians face Maori All Blacks at 7.35pm (NZ Time) at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Squad:

  1. Campese Ma’afu
  2. Veremalua Vugakoto
  3. Lee-Roy Atalifo
  4. Tevita Ratuva
  5. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
  6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu
  7. Mosese Voka
  8. Nemani Nagusa
  9. Henry Seniloli
  10. Alivereti Veitokani
  11. Filipo Nakosi
  12. Jale Vatubua
  13. Waisea Nayacalevu
  14. Patrick Osbourne
  15. Kini Murimurivalu

Reserves: Samuel Matavesi, Joeli Veitayaki, Luke Tagi, Albert Tuisue, John Dyer, Serupepeli Vularika, Sevanaia Galala, Josh Matavesi

New Zealand Māori All Blacks:

  1. Ross Wright.
  2. Ashi Dixon (c)
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Tom Franklin
  5. Pari Pari Parkinson
  6. Reed Prinsep
  7. Mitch Karpik
  8. Whetukamokamo Douglas
  9. Bryn Hall
  10. Otere Black
  11. Sean Wainui
  12. Alex Nankivell
  13. Rob Thompson
  14. Jordan Hyland
  15. Shaun Stevenson

Reserves: Nathan Harris, Haereiti Hetet/Pouri Rakete-Stones, Marcel Renata, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Akira Ioane, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Fletcher Smith, Teihorangi Walden.

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