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Fiji playmaker ruled out of World Cup due to ‘devastating’ injury

By Finn Morton
Caleb Muntz of Fiji passes the ball during the Summer International match between England and Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on August 26, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Flying Fijians playmaker Caleb Muntz will miss this year’s Rugby World Cup due to a “devastating” knee injury.

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Harbouring ambitions of making it out of the pool stage for the first time in 16 years, this injury news is a tough blow for Fiji ahead of their World Cup opener against Wales this weekend.

Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui revealed on Wednesday that the fly-half has been ruled out of the tournament after picking up the injury “in a non-contact session.”

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“On Monday, Caleb sustained a knee injury in a non-contact session and is out of the Rugby World Cup,” Raiwalui said in a statement.

“It’s most devastating for us as a group and for Caleb. He has worked so hard for the past two years with the Fijian Drua and the Flying Fijians.

“We feel for him as a young man, he misses the opportunity so close to the Rugby World Cup.

“We have got 33 players and we have the utmost confidence in them. Once we name the team for the match against Wales we will have utmost faith in whom we have selected.”

Muntz started in the No. 10 against England at Twickenham late last month and scored half of Fiji’s points as they recorded a famous 22-30 win.

Fixture
Rugby World Cup
Wales
32 - 26
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Fiji
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It was the Flying Fijians’ first win over the traditional northern hemisphere heavyweights in seven meetings.

Fiji will be full of confidence ahead of their pool play matchups with Wales, Australia, Georgia and Portugal. An All Blacks legend has tipped the Flying Fijians as a “dark horse” ahead of the sport’s showpiece event.

“Fiji. Fiji, mate,” 1987 Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Sir John Kirwan told RugbyPass last month. “I don’t know if Wales go home (before the knockout stage).

“I think Fiji are really the dark horse just to get out of the pool.”

But the injury to Muntz risks derailing some of Fiji’s momentum.

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Raiwalui confirmed that the coaching group are looking at a few payers outside of the current group as Muntz’s replacement. Fiji will make that decision in the next few days.

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Comments

9 Comments
J
Jmann 320 days ago

That is tough on the young New Zealander

T
The Chassis Chisler 320 days ago

They must have had a back up 10 in the squad. What country goes to a world cup with only 1 number 10

J
John 320 days ago

Please bring in the Fiji U20 Number 10. No Ben Volavola please, he will take us backwards.

M
Manyonge 320 days ago

This is not good news...the young man had really developed his game...to put Volavola out of the squad.

J
JoNo 321 days ago

He brought structure to their attack, they will miss sorely

M
Michael 321 days ago

Big blow, they are going so well. Hope it doesn't impact on them to much. Looking forward to watching them, go for it.

d
dave 321 days ago

Poor bloke. He looked very composed against England. Gotta feel for him. Ben Volavola for the call up?

D
Dave 321 days ago

I just did where's it gone

D
Dave 321 days ago

Really sux for Muntz, hope he bounces back quick, at least he's got plenty of time for another World cup

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Jon 3 hours ago
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> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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