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Fiji coach makes bold prediction


Fiji coach makes bold prediction as ten plays eight in the world rankings

Fiji may have never beaten France but head coach John McKee is predicting victory at Stade de France thanks to the inside knowledge his players have on the opposition.

The Top 14 domestic competition provides employment for hundreds of players from the Pacific Islands nations with Fijians the biggest group operating with French clubs. McKee, who saw his men hammer Uruguay 68-7, is confident this experience of French rugby will help close the rankings gap which sees Fiji at No10 and France listed at No8.

Fiji suffered a 54-17 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield which was a body blow to a squad that contains some of the most lethal attacking talent in World rugby and McKee said: “There were some hard questions posed around selection this week and the team to run on the field is the team we believe will beat France.

“They (France) will go into the last game of the November Test series with some confidence from their win against Argentina. We know that once again we must be on top of our game in our team defence and to counter their maul. Our players are very aware of the strengths and weakness of the French players as they play against them in the France Top 14 and European Cup matches.

“Against Uruguay we kept our standards up right through the game, not only in attack but worked hard in defence and having another week of preparation and game behind us holds us in good stead for the final test in the series this weekend.

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“Discipline and high work rate will be vitally important this week. Penalties conceded can give the opposition opportunity to put us under pressure and we must be mentally ready for the intensity levels of a Tier 1 Test match.”

The introduction of Toulon wing Josua Tuisova is the only change to the team that lost to Scotland, with Metui Talebula, of Bayonne, moving to fullback.

Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Peceli Yato, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu (captain), 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Campese Maafu.

Replacements: 16 Mesulame Dolokoto, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Albert Tuisue, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Alivereti Veitokani, 23 Eroni Sau.

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Fiji coach makes bold prediction as ten plays eight in the world rankings