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Fiji ready for another England scalp as team is named for knockouts

Fiji's left wing Semi Radradra gives a thumbs up at the start of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Fiji at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, south-eastern France on September 17, 2023. (Photo by Olivier CHASSIGNOLE / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui has named his 23-man match-day squad to play England in their Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-final in Marseille on Sunday.

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Following a disappointing 24-23 defeat to Portugal in the final pool match of the tournament, Fiji now face an England side in a quarter-final, having beaten them at Twickenham just a few months back.

The team features 10 players who started for Fiji in that famous victory, including five in the back-line with only Caleb Muntz and Selesitino Ravutaumada missing from this team.

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Fiji’s three try-scorers in that first win for Fiji over England have been named in the match-day 23 – Vinaya Habosi, Simione Kuruvoli and captain Waisea Nayacalevu.

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FIJI TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND IN THE QUARTER FINAL

1 Eroni Mawi
2 Tevita Ikanivere
3 Luke Tagi
4 Isoa Nasilasila
5 Albert Tuisue
6 Lekima Tagitagivalu
7 Levani Botia
8 Viliame Mata
9 Frank Lomani
10 Vilimoni Botitu
11 Semi Radradra
12 Josua Tuisova
13 Waisea Nayacalevu (c)
14 Vinaya Habosi
15 Ilaisa Droasese

Replacements:
16 Samuel Matavesi
17 Peni Ravai
18 Mesake Doge
19 Meli Derenalagi
20 Vilive Miramira
21 Simione Kuruvoli
22 Iosefo Masi
23 Sireli Maqala

Hooker Tevita Ikanivere earns his first Rugby World Cup start after playing Fiji’s first four pool games off the bench. In his 12th test since making his debut in July last year, this will be only his fourth start – all three of his tries have come when he has worn the number two jersey.

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Semi Radradra returns to the left wing, with Vinaya Habosi switching to the right. He is still chasing his first try of RWC 2023 after scoring two in 2019. Four of his six career tries have come when he has started in the midfield. Radradra announced this year he would be moving to Lyon after three years with the Bristol Bears.

If used off the bench Peni Ravai will join Akapusi Qera, Campese Ma’afu and Leone Nakarawa as the second-most capped Fijian at the Rugby World Cup with 12 appearances. Only Nicky Little has played more games with 14 between 1999 and 2011.

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Wonton 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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N
Nick 6 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

17 Go to comments
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