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Waqaniburotu's leadership endorsed by Fiji

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Dominiko Waqaniburotu rewarded as Fiji's 42-man squad named

Brive’s Dominiko Waqaniburotu, who captained Fiji to a historic 21-14 win over France in Paris, will lead his country in the Pacific Nations Cup and the two Tests with the Maori All Blacks in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Head coach John McKee had no hesitation in asking 33-year-old Waqaniborutu to continue in this key role, explaining: “Waqaniborutu certainly led by example during the November tour last year. His leadership was instrumental in helping the team to prepare for and put on such a great performance against the French team in Paris.

“I really look forward to working with Dominiko as captain. I know we have a very strong leadership group in this team who will be driving a lot of team values and behaviours while in camp and at the Rugby World Cup.”

McKee has named a powerful 42-strong Flying Fijians squad which goes into camp in Suva on July 1 to prepare for the upcoming matches.

“We have got a very good balance across the squad of experienced players but also some younger players who have been putting pressure on more senior players,” added the coach whose team will be in the same World Cup pool as Wales and Australia.

“Being named in this squad is no guarantee of going to the Rugby World Cup. There is a lot of competition and work to be done across all our camps, the Maori All Blacks Test matches and Pacific Nations Cup.”

McKee has been able to include top European-based talent, but has also rewarded local players Eroni Mawi, Luke Tagi, Joeli Veitayaki, Mesulame Dolokoto, Tuvere Veremalua, Johnny Dyer, Mosese Voka, Frank Lomani and Serupepeli Vularika.

“In the last two years we have seen improvement in the level of the local players and that is mainly a testament to the Fijian Drua and the new Fijian Latui squad. I also think our under-20s and academy programmes have got stronger.”

FLYING FIJIANS JULY SQUAD (NZ Maori & Pacific Nations Cup)

Props (8): Leeroy Atilifo, Campese Ma’afu, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Luke Tagi, Kalivati Tawake, Joeli Veitayaki;

Hookers (3): Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Tuvere Vugakoto;

Locks (5): Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Albert Tuisue;

Back row (7): Johnny Dyer, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Nemani Nagusa, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato;

Scrum-halves (4): Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henri Senioli, Serupepeli Vularika;

Fly-halves (2): Ben Volavola, Alivereti Veitokani;

Centres (4): Levani Botia, Sevanaia Galala, Semi Radradra, Jale Vatubua;

Utility back (1): Josh Matavesi;

Wingers (6): Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Patrick Osbourne, Eroni Sau, Josua Tuisova;

Full-backs (2): Kini Murimurivalu, Seta Tuicuvu.

WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what fans can expect in Japan at this year’s World Cup

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Dominiko Waqaniburotu rewarded as Fiji's 42-man squad named