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Competition For Spots, More Depth Make Cotter Happy

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter has praised the performance of the five debutants in their 36-0 win over the Ikale Tahi Tonga at the HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, on Saturday.
04 Jul 2022 15:26
Competition For Spots, More Depth Make Cotter Happy
Vodafone Flying Fijians flanker, Rusiate Nasove (with ball) leads an attack during their World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga at the HFC Bank Stadium on July 2, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter has praised the performance of the five debutants in their 36-0 win over the Ikale Tahi Tonga at the HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, on Saturday.

Centre Kalaveti Ravouvou and winger Vinaya Habosi scored a try each, while lock Isoa Nasilasila and flanker Rusiate Nasove helped the forward pack.

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Former All Blacks centre Setareki Tamanivalu came in as an impact player whose try was denied after it was a knocked forward at the try-line.

Vodafone Flying Fijians flanker, Rusiate Nasove (with ball) leads an attack during their World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga at the HFC Bank Stadium on July 2, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Vodafone Flying Fijians flanker, Rusiate Nasove (with ball) leads an attack during their World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga at the HFC Bank Stadium on July 2, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Cotter said they were well supported by seasoned players like captain, Waisea Nayacalevu and it has improved the depth in the Flying Fijians squad.

“We using five debutants, gives you an idea of what we wanted from the game. Get some players, give them some experience and obviously November is going to be up North,” he said.

“The other thing is just how nice to be in Fiji and play.

“What was more important and more pleasing to me was the whole squad was involved from the beginning of the week, right to this game. The warm up, assistance, encouragement and it wasn’t just 23 players and that was important,” Cotter said.

“Everyone had their backs and went out in confidence and had a great game.

“That’s good for us, it provides competition for spots, gives us more depth and I’m sure when you play your first Test you are hungry for more, when we need them, they will be there.”

The Flying Fijians take on Australia A in its second game of the PNC at Lautoka’s Churchill Park on Saturday.

These three games would also be a good test for many Fijian young players in preparation for the November tour as well as for Tonga preparing for their World Cup qualifiers.

“We are seeing some pretty tough line-up of players out there, Tongan team, Samoa and some very good Australian players here as well,” Cotter said.

“When we were preparing we were looking at the rosters and the coaching teams, we knew this was not going to be easy.

“It’s a great for all four teams moving forward, Tonga going for the World Cup qualifier, Samoa going for a lot of strength and they bring some overseas boys down here for experience.”

He added that they would keep up with the strengths from their game against Tonga as seen in some of their set pieces, scrums and lineout.

“The most important thing is to enjoy this moment together, the whole group.

“We need to be more accurate, we threw some balls away that could be controlled and have more control on the game, didn’t get the right penalties. Just things like that we need to work on.

“I thought our set pieces were pretty good. Our lineouts and scrum were greatly effective.

“We’ll be putting good things, on top of good things so some good stuff there, very quick to get the ball up in the air.

“Just need to be a little bit sharper. If we lose the ball, we move into defence.

“But I’m pretty confident we can get some perfect ball, like we did, use our forwards we will be able to beat them and push them backwards.”

Meanwhile, Samoa takes on Tonga in the first match at 12pm on Saturday while Fiji and Australia A play at 3:30pm.

Fiji currently leads the PNC table.

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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