Rugby World Cup: Test For Tight Five

McKee will hope his players can put the emotions of the Uruguay loss behind them and get a result against Georgia.
02 Oct 2019 18:10
Rugby World Cup: Test For Tight Five
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians (facing camera from left) Leone Nakarawa and captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu during a training session in Osaka, Japan, on October 1, 2019. Nakarawa and Waqaniburotu have been named in coach John McKee’s line-up against Georgia tomorrow at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka City. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ZoomFiji

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has named an experienced front five to face what is expected to be a powerful Georgian forward pack tomorrow.

Tight-head prop Manasa Saulo is the sole survivor from the team that lost 27-30 to Uruguay last week, while McKee has recalled Campese Ma’afu and Sam Matavesi to the starting XV.

Leone Nakarawa has been restored to his favoured lock position alongside Tevita Cavubati, who missed the Uruguay match after a reasonably solid outing against Australia in the opener.

Peceli Yato and Semi Kunatani have also made the run-on 23, while Viliame Mata has been named on the bench.

McKee is counting on experience to topple the Georgians, whose prowess in the forwards is well-known.

The Georgians’ tight-five brushed aside Uruguay with scary ease, in a 33-7 Los Lelos bonus-point win.

McKee, whose side need a bonus-point victory to keep their slim chances of reaching the next stage alive, has been talking up the Georgian threat in the lead up to the game.

The coach was let down against Uruguay after opting to field a completely new front five, which failed to step up to the challenge.

Fiji’s so-called second-string side was good enough to beat the then 19th-ranked Los Teros but was punished for being careless in possession and committing too many mistakes.

McKee will hope his players can put the emotions of the Uruguay loss behind them and get a result against Georgia.

Fiji’s chances of reaching the next stage hinges on Australia losing at least one of their final two matches against Uruguay and Georgia respectively.

The team, however, want to finish strong by securing third place in Pool D to automatically qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023.

Anything less will feel like a major failure for a team that was labelled Fiji’s “best-prepared” side in World Cup history.

Edited by Osea Bola

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