Tough Decisions for Coach Raiwalui

Flying Fijians head coach works on finalising his Match 23 squad for World Cup opener
07 Sep 2023 16:00
Tough Decisions for Coach Raiwalui
Flying Fijians head coach Simon Raiwalui.

Selecting the Flying Fijians Match 23 squad for the Rugby World Cup opener against Wales on Monday won’t be an easy task.

This was told to SUNsports yesterday by Flying Fijians head coach Simon Raiwalui.

“As you can imagine it has been tough, the 33 players have been exceptional in terms of their preparations,” the no-nonsense coach said.

“As with any selection, there is always tough decisions that have to be made.”

Raiwalui indicated that competition among players to get one of the spots in the Match 23 squad has been very intense.

“The players have worked extremely hard during the campaign to arrive at this match,” he said.

With days away from the Wales game, Raiwalui said nothing changes for them in terms of preparation.

“We have planned for this moment. We continue to work on the things that we believe we need to execute to be successful, understanding what particular challenges Wales will challenge us with,” he added.

FIJI Water Flying Fijians head coach, Simon Raiwalui. Photo: Leon Lord

Gatland stays positive 

Meanwhile, according to AFP, Wales head coach Warren Gatland remains positive, and will be hoping to galvanise a team still featuring veterans like George North, Taulupe Faletau, Liam Williams and Dan Biggar but also including a raft of younger inexperienced players such as stand-out winger Louis Rees-Zammit.

“I’m telling you this team will do something pretty special,” Gatland told AFP.

“If I look back on the Six Nations and all the things that were going on, I probably needed to let things unfold a bit and not be as direct or demanding as I might have normally been.

“The fact that things have settled down and a lot of new players have come in, the way that we’ve been so much more accountable for how we do things and demanding standards, that has been brilliant As a group, we are in a good place. I promise you now, we will surprise some people.”

In another podcast interview, Gatland said they were looking at a template of how the Crusaders walloped the Fijian Drua in their Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinal clash at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. This is because 18 Drua players are in the Flying Fijians squad.

The match kicks-off at 7am.



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