Olympians Set For Flying Fijians

Watch Olympians Viliame Mata and Vilimoni Botitu secure their spots in the Flying Fijians squad for the November Test matches. This was after their sterling performance for their clubs on
18 Oct 2021 12:21
Olympians Set For Flying Fijians
Veteran Flying Fijians lock Leone Nakarawa (with ball) leads the charge for Toulon against Racing 92 in the French Top14 clash on October 16, 2021. Nakarawa is a definite starter in the November Test matches. Photo: Toulon Rugby

Watch Olympians Viliame Mata and Vilimoni Botitu secure their spots in the Flying Fijians squad for the November Test matches.

This was after their sterling performance for their clubs on Saturday.

Mata, the burly Fijian No.8, was named the Player of the Match when Edinburgh upset Bulls 17-10 in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash.

Mata was dubbed to be in Beast Mode, when stats show that after three rounds of competition, he made 45 carries (the most in the URC), ran 123 metres, 21 tackles with 9 tackle breaks.

The Nauluvatu, Nakelo, Tailevu native missed out of the All Blacks Test matches in July as he underwent a knee surgery.

In another positive move backrow, Mesulame Kunavula was promoted to the bench and came in as a sub for Edinburgh.

In the French Top 14, Castres unveiled a new Fijian backline combination in their 38-20 win over Biarritz.

Botitu starred at second five-eighth as he combined well with rugby league convert, Adrea Cocagi, at centre with Filipo Nakosi on the wing. Josua Raisuqe was on the bench.

Botitu two tries for Castres in the encounter.

Last Friday, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor indicated that they are going to name the Flying Fijians squad this week.

Top 14

Veteran forward Leone Nakarawa was moved back to lock as his Toulon went down 27-20 to Racing 92. Fijian players Jiuta Wainiqolo, Petero Tuwai and Ben Volavola did not make the Match23 squad.

Loosehead prop Peni Ravai and No.8 Peceli Yato helped Clermont bounce back to beat Montpellier, who were without Masivesi Dakuwaqa and Josua Vici, 22-20.

La Rochelle who did not field Levani Botia and Eneriko Buliruarua edged Brive 8-6. Lanky lock Tevita Ratuva, No.8 Kitione Kamikamica and winger Setareki Bituniyata started for Brive.

Rookie winger Alivereti Duguivalu continues to impress by scoring Perpignan’s try as they went down 23-22 to Stade Francais who had Waisea Nayacalevu on the wing.

Results: Toulon 20-27 Racing 92, Perpignan 22-23 Stade Francaise, Castres 38-20 Biarritz, Brive 6-8 La Rochelle, Pau 33-37 Bordeaux Begles, Montpellier 20-22 Clermont.

United Rugby Championship

The inclusion of former Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber as the Edinburgh’s skills coach will allow him to work with Mata, Kunavula and prop Leeroy Atalifo.

Mesake Doge started for Dragons as they lost 24-10 to Stormers while Asaeli Tuivuaka could not help Zebre as they went down 17-6 to Glasgow Warriors.

Results: Edinburgh 17-10 Bulls, Leinster 50-15 Scarlets, Glasgow 17-6 Zebre, Ulster 26-10 Lions, Dragons 10-24 Stormers.

Gallagher Premiership

Big Nemani Nadolo scored a try for Leicester Tigers as they walloped Worcester 48-3 while George Wacokecoke came in as a sub for Newcastle Falcons in their 13-5 win over Bristol Bears.

A surprise appearance of veteran fullback Kini Murimurivalu for Tigers could bring a sigh relief to Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter.

Results: Worcester 3-48 Leicester, Wasps 23-27 Exeter Chiefs, Newcastle 13-5 Bristol, Sale 28-22 Harlequins.

National Provincial Championship

Taranaki’s Fijian duo of Pita Gus Sowakula and Kini Naholo put on another impressive performance in their 33-26 win over Waikati who had winger Mosese Dawai.

Naholo scored a try and set-up another while Dawai also dotted down a try. Sowakula was unfortunate to have his try disallowed.

He is keeping on with his dream to play for the All Blacks by 2023.

“If nothing happens then I’ll probably go back to Fiji and try make it there,” he told Stuff during a May 7 interview.

Flying Fijians winger Manasa Mataele scored a try for Canterbury as they lost 45-26 to Hawkes Bay who also broke a 53-year-old hoodoo in Christchurch.

Winger Jone Macilai scored a try for Northland despite losing 24-13 to Vilimoni Koroi’s Otago.

Meanwhile, in the Heartland Championship, Iliesa Tora and Miti Kaloudigibeci scored a try each for Buller as they were beaten 50-26 by East Coast.

Results: Manawatu 16-36 Wellington, Hawkes Bay 45-26 Canterbury, Otago 24-13 Northland, Taranaki 33-26 Waikato.

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