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New skipper as Fiji name team for All Blacks second Test

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Lock Leone Nakarawa has taken over the captaincy of the Flying Fijians against the All Blacks on Saturday in Hamilton after powerful centre Levani Botia was ruled out by a knee injury.

Riko Buliruarua, who plays for Brive in France, replaces Botia and will partner Waisea Nayacalegu in the centre while there is also a recall for experience back rower forward Peceli Yato, relegating London Irish No8 Albert Tuisue to the bench in the only change in the pack made by head coach Vern Cotter following the first test loss.

Cotter said “Earlier in the week we knew we had a doubt with Levani Botia and we spoke to Leone. He has already been looking after the line-outs and now he takes on a wider leadership role of the whole team but he does that naturally with his excellent leadership skills.


“Albert sustained a minor injury so did not train fully until today. Peceli has been given the notch and I know he is a good player. I know that Albert will give us something off the bench because we didn’t get as much as we wanted off the bench in the last match.”

Crucially, Frank Lomani will start at half-back while Setareki Tuicuvu is on the right-wing replacing Eroni Sau. “Lomani coming in brings his experience, it looks like we are playing in wet conditions so his experience in terms of when to go forward, stop, kick and control the play will be very important” said Cotter.

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“Tuicuvu is very powerful, we know he’s strong, very quick and he also plays fullback so if there is a bit more kicking in the game, since it will be wet, he has the experience to take the ball if All Blacks start kicking down the line. I feel it’s the strength we need for this game.”

Queensland Reds half-back Moses Sorovi and Teti Tela are likely to earn their test debut off the bench with Cotter adding: “Sorovi is a great player, he is very quick around the rucks and we like what he offers there. Eroni Mawi and Mesu Dolokoto will offer some density to the forward pack and then Manasa Mataele can cover three positions center, wing and full back.”

“We are very unhappy that we got 57 points scored against us.We felt that we scored three tries and normally when we score three tries against any opposition, it should be close to winning. It’s because we allowed those soft tries, we had a good look at how we can defend.

“All Blacks have a more powerful pack for this weekend and they will apply pressure so it’s up to us to get our heads up and make sure that we defend our line with courage and passion.”

Flying Fijians Squad V All Blacks
1. Peni Ravai
2. Sam Matavesi
3. Mesake Doge
4. Temo Mayanavanua
5. Leone Nakarawa {c}
6. Johnny Dyer
7. Mesulame Kunavula
8. Peceli Yato
9. Frank Lomani
10. Ben Volavola
11. Nemani Nadolo
12. Eneriko Buliruarua
13. Waisea Nayacalevu
14 Setareki Tuicuvu
15. Kini Murimurivalu

Mesulame Dolokoto, Eroni Mawi, Leeroy Atalifo, Albert Tuisue, Kitione Kamikamica, Moses Sorovi, Teti Tela, Manasa Mataele


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