Rugby

Tuicuvu Steps Up To Cover For Kuruvoli At No.9  

This is his first Test start after coming from the bench against Georgia in last November’s Autumn Nationa Cup.
09 Jul 2021 16:59
Tuicuvu Steps Up To Cover For Kuruvoli At No.9  
Stocky built Setareki Tuicuvu in full flight. He is going to cover for Simione Kuruvoli at halfback during the first All Blacks Test match.

France-based utility back Setareki Tuicuvu will cover for halfback Simione Kuruvoli in tomorrow’s first Test against the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Tuicuvu is not new to the position since he played in it early in his career with the Nadroga Academy before joining French club Clermont.

In the Top 14 competition, Tuicuvu had been a regular at fullback.

Kuruvoli has been named in the starting line-up by head coach Vern Cotter.

This is his first Test start after coming from the bench against Georgia in last November’s Autumn Nationa Cup.

 

Challenges

Fiji Rugby’s high performance general manger, Simon Raiwalui, is reluctant to complain but told ESPN that Fiji are grateful for any matches against the world’s top ranked teams.

Raiwalui does not, however, hide from the challenges Fiji confronted in attempting to bring together their squad from all over the globe.

And then spend two weeks quarantine in New Zealand before facing an All Blacks team scrapping for starting places.

“We want to go in with a positive mindset to this match,” Raiwalui said.

“Both our halfbacks and our 10 are stuck in Australia and won’t be able to make the Test.

“Due to the trans-Tasman bubble being paused we moved them to Queensland because we were advised that was the safest state.

“And then that got closed down and the New Zealand government hasn’t opened up so unfortunately they won’t be able to make it.”

Those players stuck in Australia include Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani, Reds No. 9 Moses Sorovi and first five-eighth Teti Tela.

 

Sourcing halves

Asked about sourcing halves replacements, Raiwalui’s explanation carries a similar theme to Tonga’s plight last week: “We’ve got one from Fiji and another young halfback from club rugby in Wellington.

“It’s been interesting, a challenge, just to get the squad here and into MIQ. We’ve had a lot of assistance from New Zealand Rugby, World Rugby, we’ve worked really hard to get them in.

“But bringing people from Europe, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand with the different challenges COVID presents it’s been very, very interesting.

“We don’t want that narrative; we want to be positive.

“The boys are in fine form since we’ve been together but we’re under no illusions about the challenges in front of us and what it’s taken to get here.

“We know what a good team the All Blacks are; historically the best team in the world with a huge talent pool.”

Fiji are an immensely proud rugby nation.

 

Just a glance

Following their disappointing World Cup campaign in which they managed one win in pool play over Georgia- and a loss to Uruguay- coaching changes were made.

This saw the recruiting of the highly-regarded Vern Cotter as head coach, with Crusaders forwards mentor Jason Ryan, Daryl Gibson, Glen Jackson and Richard Gray coming on board too.

 



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