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Fiji name 27-man squad

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Fiji draft 9 players as 27-man squad named for Pacific Nations

Fiji Rugby Head Coach John McKee has drafted in nine players for the first match of their defence of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup title against Japan at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium next weekend following the shared series with the New Zealand Maori.

The match against Japan will serve as a key Rugby World Cup warm up for Fiji who play Uruguay in their second pool game of the tournament in Japan at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium on September 25.

The nine Eroni Mawi, Manasa Saulo, Mesulame Dolokoto, Leone Nakarawa, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Peceli Yato, Ben Volavola and Levani Botia remained in Fiji and missed the final Fiji Airways Pacific Series Test match against the Maori All Blacks but today flew out to Japan.

McKee said “We are taking a very strong squad to Japan for the important first round of the PNC.

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“The players who remained in Fiji last week under went specific physical conditioning so I expect them to come fitter and fresh this week.We expect Japan to play a very up tempo game. Once again we will have to work very hard in our defensive system and look to dominate the physical collisions.”

Having used the Maori matches to help with his bid to identify the final 31 players who will be named in the Rugby World Cup squad, McKee is now aiming to build on the positives from the two Maoris matches. Eighteen players who were part of the 26-17 loss to the Maori in Rotorua remain with the squad and McKee added: “There have been some good learnings from our two matches against the Maori All Blacks and players have benefited from the physical matches over the past two weeks.”

The Kamaishi stadium was built following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and tsunami that brought considerable devastation and loss of life to Kamaishi and the surrounding area. Kamaishi bore the full force of the tsunami with 30 per cent of homes in the area either damaged or destroyed and 60 per cent of businesses completely inundated.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad to Japan

Forwards

1. Lee-Roy Atalifo

2. Campese Ma’afu

3. Eroni Mawi

4. Peni Ravai

5. Manasa Saulo

6. Kalivati Tawake

7. Mesulame Dolokoto

8. Ratu Vere Vugakoto

9. Sam Matavesi

10. Leone Nakarawa

11. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa

12. Albert Tuisue

13. Semi Kunatani

14. Viliame Mata

15. Dominiko Waqaniburotu

16. Peceli Yato

Backs

17. Frank Lomani

18. Henry Seniloli

19. Alivereti Veitokani

20. Ben Volavola

21. Levani Botia

22. Waisea Nayacalevu

23. Jale Vatubua

24. Filipo Nakosi

25. Patrick Osbourne

26. Josh Matavesi

27. Kini Murimurivalu

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Fiji draft 9 players as 27-man squad named for Pacific Nations