Rugby | SPORTS

Pacific Nations Cup: Eroni Mawi’s Big Break

Local-based prop Eroni Mawi starts in the front-row together with hooker Sam Matavesi and Manasa Saulo.
26 Jul 2019 09:44
Pacific Nations Cup: Eroni Mawi’s Big Break

Fitness and mobility is what John McKee is banking on in their Pacific Nations Cup opener against Japan at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium at the Iwate Prefecture in Japan tomorrow.

In working on his line-up McKee had also gone for experience in his 23-member squad.

“We’re getting further down our journey towards Rugby World Cup and have a stronger understanding of our game plans and our systems,” McKee said.

“I’m thrilled to have been able to name such a strong squad for the match against Japan.”

Local-based prop Eroni Mawi starts in the front-row together with hooker Sam Matavesi and Manasa Saulo.

“Mawi deserves selection,” McKee said. He’s an up-coming player who has been drafted for a number of test matches as a reserve and this is his opportunity to show what he has in the starting team this Saturday.”

Leone Nakarawa and Albert Tuisue again partner up in the starting second row while skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Semi Kunatani will be on the flanks. Viliame Mata returns at number eight.

In the backs, Frank Lomani comes in at scrum-half, Ben Volavola at Number 10 while Alivereti Veitokani moves to full-back position. The powerful combination of Waisea Nayacalevu and Levani Botia strengthens the mid-field. Filipe Nakosi starts his third straight match at right wing while Patrick Osbourne will be on the left.

McKee said it was important for the team to win the physical collision against Japan.

“We did that against the Maori All Blacks in Suva. It is important that we repeat that type of dominance against Japan,” he added.

“They will play a very up-tempo and a very fast game so we need to work very hard in our defensive system and effort to deny Japan opportunities to score.”

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians face Japan at 5.50pm (Fiji time) this Saturday. The match will broadcast live on Fiji One.

Line-up: 1. Eroni Mawi, 2. Sam Matavesi, 3. Manasa Saulo, 4. Albert Tuisue, 5. Leone Nakarawa, 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (c), 7. Semi Kunatani, 8. Viliame Mata, 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Ben Volavola, 11. Patrick Osborne, 12. Levani Botia, 13. Waisea Nayacalevu, 14. Filipo Nakosi, 15. Alivereti Veitokani.

Reserves: 16. Mesulame Dolokoto, 17. Peni Ravai, 18. Lee Roy Atalifo, 19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 20. Peceli Yato, 21. Henry Seniloli, 22. Jale Vatubua, 23. Josh Matavesi.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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