Opinion | SPORTS

Flying Fijians to Focus Now on Australia

A win over the Wallabies places the Waisea Nayacalevu-captained side in a good position since their remaining pool matches will be against Georgia and Portugal.
13 Sep 2023 13:00
Flying Fijians to Focus Now on Australia
From left: Will Skelton, Nic White, and Mark Nawaqanitawase.

The focus now is to beat Australia in our second Pool C clash of the Rugby World Cup to be played next Monday.

The narrow 26-32 loss to Wales, the last-minute dropped pass by Semi Radradra and the controversial calls of referee Matthew Carley should now be best put behind us.

Let’s not dwell over them, but move on to the next assignment, which is to recover, plan, prepare and beat the Eddie Jones-coached Australian Wallabies side.

The win against the Wallabies will be crucial as to keep our chances of qualifying to the quarterfinals alive. The last time the Flying Fijians reached the quarterfinals was in 2007.

A win over the Wallabies places the Waisea Nayacalevu-captained side in a good position since their remaining pool matches will be against Georgia and Portugal.

Flying Fijians head coach Simon Raiwalui said it right that it’s all about taking one game at a time.


The target for this week is Australia.

However, the young Wallabies side with seven players of Fijian descent will be no pushover.

The Aussies have come under a lot fire when Jones opted to drop senior players like Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Bernard Foley, Tom Wright along with former captain Michael Hooper for the World Cup.

They scored a bonus point 35-15 win over Georgia to lead Pool C with Wales.

Already Wallabies assistant coach Dan Palmer knows the importance of this game for the team teams by indicating that they would make changes to contain the Fijians.

So, let’s take a look at the Australian players who will be a threat to our must-win match



Standing at 2.03metres and weighing 145kilogrammes, Skelton is known for his brute strength, lineout prowess and power play. For a lock, he made four turnovers against Georgia.

Jones shock selection of Skelton as captain rocked the rugby world. There were reasons for it. First, he was a winner- Skelton last played for Waratahs when they won the Super Rugby title in 2017.

He joined Saracens where they won two Premiership title in 2018 and 2019. He also helped Saracens win the European Champions Cup in 2019. Skelton moved to La Rochelle in France as they won the European Rugby Champions Cup in 2022 and 2023. Skelton, Jones says, is the winning manna, which the Wallabies need.

Will Skelton.


The veteran halfback although under injury cloud should start against the Fijians since Tate McDermott is ruled out due to concussion. White who replaced McDermott late in the first half against Georgia, came in at a right time to manage their game as they began to regain control. White perfectly controlled the pace of the team to keep the opposition guessing all the time. Like Skelton, White also commands a lot of respect from his team-mates and is always out there leading from the front.

Nic White.


Give an inch and he’ll take a mile, is the best way to describe this Nalebaleba native from Bemana in Nadroga.

Nawaqanitawase is the Wallabies try scoring machine. He is a deceptive runner, lots of speed, high work rate and is superb with the high balls.

The Flying Fijians must not give him room to move and when defending must keep an eye on those cross field kicks for Nawaqanitase to pinch out in the air to score tries.

Mark Nawaqanitawase.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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