Fiji player ratings: So this is what we’ve been missing. Vern Cotter’s Fiji came out of the gates like rodeo bulls with a point to prove having missed all but the final weekend of the Autumn Nations Cup.
After the initial storm, conditions and the men in maroon jerseys slowly dragged the Flying Fijians into an arm wrestle, but as the conditions dried, so the Fijians magic started to emerge. Here are our Fiji player ratings:
1. PENI RAVAI – 6.5
Ravai never got the chance to show off his carrying abilities, unrivalled by any other prop in the game. Unlucky not to score a rare try. The Fijian scrum did creak at times as the match wore on. The Georgians will do that.
2. SAMUEL MATAVESI – 6.5
Having recovered from Covid as one of the ’29’, Matavesi could be forgiven for not being at his best. A couple of stray lineouts darts aside, a solid shift.
3. MESAKE DOGE – 7
Held his own against the Georgian scrum who had gotten the best of Ireland a week earlier. Carried like a bull elephant in ‘must’, scattering red defenders like they were tourists at a Safari park in some tragic Youtube video.
4. TEVITA RATUVA – 7
Part of a Fijian eight who dominated nearly every collision. You sense the Georgians wanted to go up the middle against Fiji but there’s was little quarter given, and the athletically built Scarlet was at the heart of it.
5. TEMO MAYANAVANU – 7
Another Fijian forward at the coalface in Murrayfield. The young man from Lyon impressed, standing up to the famed bearded man-strength of the Lelos.
6. JOHNNY DYER – 7
A well deserved early try for the flanker. Fell off a couple of tackles but over all a solid, meaty performance from the blindside.
7. MESULAME KUNAVULA – 7.5
Carried well in traffic and worked hard tracking back in defence. Ran a good support line off Tuisova to pick up a try. Two turnovers to his name after the 80.
8. ALBERT TUISUE – 8
The miserable conditions hampered Fiji getting any continuity in attack, but Tuisue did what he could from the base of the scrum, a position he plays at club but never international level. Was worth his weight in gold at the breakdown, winning turnover after turnover.
9. FRANK LOMANI – 7
Mixed the excellent with the shoddy in rainy conditions. Marshals his forwards well although the 24-year-old is still working on his game management.
10. BEN VOLAVOLA – 7.5
The veteran flyhalf probably doesn’t get the credit he has deserved at Test level. He controlled the game well until a decision making brain-fade in the 24th minute gifted the Georgian’s entry into the Fijian 22. His precision grubber for Nadolo’s second try was world-class.
11. NEMANI NADOLO – 9
The big man scored after just 72 seconds after a brilliant pick-up from the deck, which set the tone the game. Was looking for victims to obliterate in defence. He’s lost 8 kilos on a vegetarian diet having come into camp at 142kg and he looked in mint condition. After sliding in for his second, he’d bagged his hattrick by the 63rd minute, by which stage the Georgians understandably didn’t look too keen on the bringing him down.
12. LEVANI BOTIA – 7.5
Defending against Botia has be one of the most unenviable tasks in professional rugby. Carried with massive violence, drawing the attention from the TMO at times.
13. SEMI RADRADRA – 7
He’s the best player in the world on his day, but the Georgians did a relatively good job containing him. Naturally, the attention diverted to the Bristol Bear opened up space elsewhere.
14. JOSUA TUISOVA – 8
‘The Bus’ scored with his first touch of the ball, his seventh Test try. Fumbled his fair share of high balls in the torrential conditions. Brushed aside four defenders to set up Kunavula in the 54th minute and generally caused carnage on the ball.
15. KINI MURIMURIVALU – 6
A quiet afternoon for the Leicester Tigers fullback, with Tuisova and Nadolo grabbing the plaudits today.
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