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Albert Tuisue switches position as Fiji name team to play Japan

By Chris Jones
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 10: Shannon Frizell of the All Blacks poses for a photo with Albert Tuisue of Fiji during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Fiji at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Gloucester No.8 Albert Tuisue has been drafted into the second row as the Flying Fijians attempt to finish their Pacific Nations Cup campaign unbeaten by knocking over Japan in Tokyo on Saturday.

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Tuisue, the former London Irish back row forward, missed out on a place in the Fiji squad for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 but is proving to be an invaluable member of the current team and is set to be named in the Cup squad for France to erase the memories of his disappointment of four years ago. Before setting off for Japan, Tuisue, 30, told local media: “It (2019) was quite emotional for me as I had done my best, but I was dropped but I am hopeful I’ll make the squad to the World Cup this year.

“The last four weeks has been great in terms of bonding especially for the Fijian Drua boys and us overseas based players and it has been a good mixture.

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“We have seen the game last week (defeating Sanmoa)  where there were a few young boys who were on debut but they played really well and we hope we will have a good outcome against Japan this week.”

Tuisue , who gave up his career as a police officer in Fiji in order to become a professional rugby player joins Temo Mayanavanua  in a new second row combination with  Lekima Tagitagivalu,  Kitione Kamikamica  and Meli Derenalagi filling the back row places against a Japan team that will try to play at a high tempo.

Significantly, experienced Ben Volavola returns at fly-half while Selestino Ravutaumada starts his third successive  match having helped defeat Tonga and Samoa with the dangerous  Jiuta Wainiqolo and Sireli Maqala completing the back three.

Head Coach Simon Raiwalui said “We have had a quick turnaround following our match against Samoa last weekend. As usual, we are still in the preparation phase for Rugby World Cup hence we are testing and rotating our players at certain positions. It’s good to have Ben Volvavola back in the squad. He was nursing a niggling injury for the past few weeks and his experience at number 10 will be a boost against Japan.

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“We know Japan is a good team, plays very high tempo of the game and very organized so we are just looking forward to the challenge.”

Raiwalui has made changes to the starting XV that beat Samoa including naming Vilimoni Botitu at centre rather than in the back row.

FIJI Water Flying Fijians match day 23 V Japan
1. Eroni Mawi
2. Sam Matavesi
3. Luke Tagi
4. Albert Tuisue
5. Temo Mayanavanua
6. Lekima Tagitagivalu
7. Kitione Kamikamica
8. Meli Derenalagi
9. Simione Kuruvoli
10. Ben Volavola
11. Selestino Ravutaumada
12. Vilimoni Botitu
13. Waisea Nayacalevu {C}
14. Jiuta Wainiqolo
15. Sireli Maqala

RESERVES:
16. Tevita Ikanivere
17. Peni Ravai
18. Mesake Doge
19. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta
20. Joseva Tamani
21. Frank Lomani
22. Teti Tela
23. Ilaisa Droasese

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Comments

1 Comment
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007 354 days ago

'Fiji Water Flying Fijians'?? 😂
It's just plain and simply FIJI.

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Jon 2 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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