Rugby | SPORTS

All Eyes On November Tests

Our Europe-based players put on sterling performances for their respective clubs on Saturday as they target for a spot in the Flying Fijians squad for the November Test matches.
17 Oct 2022 16:00
All Eyes On November Tests
Sam Matavesi (2) is embraced by a Northampton Saints team-mate after socring try in their 32-31 win over Newcastle Falcons on October 15, 2022 Photo: Northampton Saints

Our Europe-based players put on sterling perfor­mances for their respec­tive clubs on Saturday as they target for a spot in the Flying Fijians squad for the November Test matches.

They face Scotland on Novem­ber 5 at Murrayfield then No­vember 12 against Ireland in Dublin and the French Barbar­ians on November 19. This is a crucial build-up to next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

Barring any injury, veteran No.8 Viliame Mata is set to make his return to Test rugby after playing for Edinburgh in their 53-8 win over Benetton in the United Rugby Championship.

In the Gallagher Premiership, Sam Matavesi stamped his claim for the No.2 jumper after scor­ing a try in their 32-31 win over Newcastle Falcons. Burly second rower Albert Tuisue came off the bench to drive Gloucester to a 31-28 win over Bristol Bears.

Veteran lock Api Ratuniyarawa started for London Irish but they went down 37-14 to Sale Sharks while loosehead prop Eroni Mawi starred for Saracens in their 37-31 win over Bath.

Across to France in the Top 14 competition, the centre part­nership of Vilimoni Botitu and Adrea Cocagi is doing wonders for Castres.

This time it was Cocagi who scored a try in their 39-22 win over Bayonne who played with­out Sireli Maqala.

But it was former Fijian sev­ens star rover Kaminieli Rasaku who scored on his debut match for Bayonne on the wing but later was shown the yellow card.

Also impressive for Castres was winger Filipo Nakosi and impact player Josua Raisuqe while Leo­ne Nakarawa did not play.

Lyon rested Josua Tuisova but lock Temo Mayanavanua played well in their 33-26 win over Mont­pellier.

Veteran Jale Vatubua and lanky lock Lekima Tagitagivalu were not able to help Pau as they went down 31-29 to Stade Fran­cais. Full-back Seta Tuicuvu was moved to wing but Brive was thrashed 45-7 by Toulouse.

Contenders

For now Mata, Matavesi, Mawi, Ratuniyarawa, Botitu, Tuisue, Maqala and Mayanavanua can be confirmed for the November Tests.

Also, there is no harm in trying out Cocagi while Vatubua and Nakosi could be given a second chance to redeem themselves.

But at the same time, there should be concerns over the availability of Semi Radradra and Siva Naulago who are still under injury rehab.

Also, Levani Botia, who has not played for La Rochelle, this season and winger Aminiasi Tu­imaba for Pau.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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