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Fiji add firepower to their line up for Samoa clash

By Chris Jones
Vereniki Goneva

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Harlequins new signings Vereniki Goneva and Tevita Cavubati have been drafted into the Fiji team to face Samoa in Suva on Saturday as head coach John McKee searches for his most powerful line up for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.


Goneva, 35-years-old, is back from injury to make his first appearance in the Pacific Nations Cup where Fiji are the defending champions and McKee is banking on the wing’s experience to help the team quickly deliver the kind of performance to prove they could be a major threat to World Cup pool opponents Australia and Wales.

McKee has picked Cavubati alongside Leone Nakarawa at lock while the promising Setareki Tuicuvu, who helped defeat France in Paris last November, is at full back to face a Samoa team missing captain Piula Fa’asalele who broke his wrist against the USA and could be out for up to six weeks. McKee said: “We all know what a great player he (Goneva) is and a leader on and off the field. Tuicuvu is a young player on the way up and has had some really good match time with his season in Clermont.

“They had a few unfortunate injuries which restricted their game time. But credit to them they have worked very hard during their rehabilitation. They’re in top-notch in their fitness conditions and are really looking forward to the game.”

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Fiji will feature a solid front-row led by hooker Sam Matavesi and props Campese Ma’afu and Peni Ravai and an outstanding back row trio of captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Semi Kunatani and No8 Viliame Mata. Half-Back Frank Lomani and Fly-half Ben Volavola start after missing the win over Canada and there is a new mid-field pairing of Levani Botia and Semi Radradra.

“We are looking at a few positions ahead of the Rugby World Cup, giving the players the opportunity to get some game time before the squad is announced,” added McKee. “We are looking at our combinations within the team and are getting them to play together so that they get the combinations together.”


Fiji Airways Flying Fijians match-day 23

1. Campese Ma’afu

2. Sam Matavesi

3. Peni Ravai


4. Tevita Cavubati

5. Leone Nakarawa

6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu

7. Semi Kunatani

8. Viliame Mata

9. Frank Lomani

10. Ben Volavola

11. Patrick Osbourne

12. Levani Botia

13. Semi Radradra

14. Vereniki Goneva

15. Setareki Tuicuvu


16. Mesulame Dolokoto

17. Eroni Mawi

18. Kalivati Tawake

19. Tevita Ratuva

20. Peceli Yato

21. Nikola Matawalu

22. Josh Matavesi

23. Kini Murimurivalu

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