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How Wales’ Loss In 2007 Inspired An 11-Year-Old Savusavu Boy To Be A Flying Fijian

Lomani told World Rugby that the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians will take inspiration from that Fiji performance, though they know it is going to be a tough battle against a very good Wales side, and the Six Nations champions.
08 Oct 2019 12:07
How Wales’ Loss In 2007 Inspired An 11-Year-Old Savusavu Boy To Be A Flying Fijian
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani.

The fall of Wales to the Flying Fijians at the Rugby World Cup 2007 inspired an 11-year-old boy in the village of Nukubalavu in Savusavu to go out and do the impossible.

Now at the age of 23, Frank Lomani yesterday got the nod to play at halfback against Wales in tomorrow’s final Pool D match of the RWC 2019.

“I remember the 2007 Rugby World Cup very well even though I was only 11 years old,” he said.

“When Fiji beat Wales to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament, it was a big moment for everybody in our village,” he said.

“I was at home watching the game with my family. I was still in primary school. It was only later after the 2015 World Cup in England that I said to myself that I wanted to be part of the Fiji team one day, and thought I had a good chance, but one of my earliest memories of Fijian rugby is that win against Wales.”

Lomani told World Rugby that the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians will take inspiration from that Fiji performance, though they know it is going to be a tough battle against a very good Wales side, and the Six Nations champions.

“For me, I am looking forward to that contest in the halfbacks, and they are going to try to shut us down on the inside so we can’t move the ball wide the way we like to. We will have to use our strong ball carriers to build momentum.

“I have been watching their scrum-half, Gareth Davies, closely. From seeing him play in their first two games, we know that he is a threat off the ball as well, and he is constantly looking to intercept and to create the breakaway.

“That is something that he has always done. It’s not the first time. In their game against Georgia, he knocked the ball on but then tried the interception again twice against Australia, one which saw him run in for his try and help Wales win the game.”

He added that the 45-10 victory against Georgia has given them a lot of confidence going into this Wales game, and we are putting all of our focus on winning that game.

“We have already seen that they are a better team than Australia in this pool, so we will have to be even better than we played against Georgia.”

Lomani scored one of the seven tries against Georgia to keep their hopes alive.

“I was also very pleased to score my try, but the one which saw Semi (Radradra) and myself set up Api Ratuniyarawa was very special. This is how Fijians like to play- just throwing the ball around and making the right offloads,” he said.

“If you watch closely, some of the best tries Fiji score are created this way. We know that Wales like to keep the ball alive, too, and I have seen them use this method in their games. Like Georgia, Wales are also a physical team and we know that they are going to bring a tough challenge, so we are preparing well to take them on both in the pack and on the outside as well.”

Looking back, Lomani said they didn’t expect to go down to Uruguay, but they would try to finish this campaign on a high so that they can regain their place in the top 10 world rankings.

“We want to write something in our history books, and beating Wales is something we have to try to do so that everyone can remember this team,” he added.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedbackleonec@fijisun.com.fj

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