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Cotter lays down law as Fiji name team to face Georgia

By Chris Jones

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Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter may be 11,000 miles away but he has made it clear to his players that they are just as powerful as Georgia heading into their test match in Madrid this weekend to end the Autumn tour.

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Cotter has been kept in New Zealand by the pandemic travel restrictions but has been on constant contact with acting head coach Gareth Baber ahead of the win over Spain and loss to Wales last weekend. Now, Fiji have to front up against the powerful Georgian pack and said: “We need to keep in mind we are capable of beating them one on one and keep scoring tries.

“We just need to keep bringing these aspects of the game but also bring discipline and become more accurate. The strategy has been decided and the players should follow it. Let’s be accurate on our line-outs, line outcalls, not put pressure on ourselves by making errors or giving referees the opportunity to penalize us and let’s enjoy the game and not make the game difficult for us.”

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Fiji had one player sent off and collect two yellow cards against Wales and Baber has made three changes to the team for the Georgia match. Loose Head Prop Eroni Mawi gets his second start alongside hooker Sam Matavesi and Mesake Doge at Tight Head Prop. Leone Nakarawa comes back into the starting line-up and will partner with Api Ratuniyarawa at lock while in the back row Albert Tuisue and Mesulame Kunavula continue with Viliame Mata at number eight.

In the backs, Aminiasi Tuimaba comes at left-wing, Josua Tuisuva will be on the right and Setareki Tuicuvu will make his third consecutive start at fullback. Three new players have been added to the bench for the match. Australia-based halfback Moses Sorovi and France-based duo Luke Tagi and Eneriko Buliruarua have been added to the game-day squad after missing the last two test matches.

Baber said: “We will be playing our third and final game so it’s about energy and experience as we prepare to go against a good and physical Georgian pack. Some of the decisions prior to selecting the final team has been based around what’s going to contribute to being able to put a winning and excellent performance by the players starting or those coming off the bench.

“The team has been well led by Waisea Nayacalevu. Vilimoni Botitu in the centre has been outstanding with the quality he brings into the game plus Josua Tuisova and Setareki Tuicuvu have given their best performance so far.”

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FLYING FIJIANS VS GEORGIA
Eroni Mawi
Sam Matavesi
Mesake Doge
Api Ratuniyarawa
Leone Nakarawa
Albert Tuisue
Mesulame Kunavula
Viliame Mata
Frank Lomani
Ben Volavola
Aminiasi Tuimaba
Vilimoni Boititu
Waisea Nayacalevu
Josua Tuisova
Setareki Tuicuvu

REPLACEMENTS:
Zuriel Togiatama
Peni Ravai
Luke Tagi
Tevita Ratuva
Masivesi Dakuwaqa
Moses Sorovi
Nikola Matawalu
Eneriko Buliruarua

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Cotter lays down law as Fiji name team to face Georgia

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