SPORTS

Third Time Lucky

I never dreamt of playing three World Cups. The dream started back in 2007 when I was at Queen Victoria School. We were in the dining hall watching Fiji play South Africa and it was so emotional: - Kini Murimurivalu.
23 Aug 2019 14:29
Third Time Lucky
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad member Kini Murimurivalu in Suva on August 22, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

In 2007, the Flying Fijians came mighty close to causing the greatest upset by beating South Africa in the quarterfinal of the Rugby World Cup in France.

The match ended 37-20 in favour of the Springboks, but the Fijians inspired the nation with a performance for the ages.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians fullback Kini Murimurivalu has vivid memories of the match. It’s when he first began dreaming of wearing the white jersey.

The 30-year-old made his World Cup debut in 2011 and is preparing to feature for the third time at the showcase event.

The La Rochelle fullback knows that they will go to Japan as the tournament underdogs. Just like in 2007, few are putting their money on the John McKee-coached side to progress from the pool stages. They will have to beat either Australia or Wales, both heavyweight rugby nations, to do so. But Murimurivalu believes the team should draw inspiration from what the 2007 team achieved and aim to better the record.

“I never dreamt of playing three World Cups,” he said.

“The dream started back in 2007 when I was in Queen Victoria School. We were in the dining hall watching Fiji play South Africa and it was so emotional.

“After that game, I knew I wanted to represent Fiji and now I’m so blessed to be part of this team.”

He was in training with the full squad at Suva’s ANZ Stadium yesterday. The team is preparing for their test match against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland, on August 31. But everyone’s attention at the same time seems to be on the big World Cup opener against Australia on September 21.

Murimurivalu expects the Wallabies to pull no punches when the two sides battle at Japan’s famous Sapporo Dome.

“The focus (on training) is on working on our mistakes from the Pacific Nations Cup and the things that we didn’t do well,” he said.

“At the moment we are working on the things that we missed and we are trying to polish up ahead next week’s game (against Tonga).

“Australia is quite a physical team and very structured. We watched the two games against the All Blacks and we’ve been assessing their weaknesses and looking at things we can counter.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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