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Radradra named captain as Fiji name team to face Samoa

By Chris Jones
TEDDINGTON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Semi Radradra passes the ball during the World XV training session at The Lensbury on May 23, 2023 in Teddington, England. The World XV will play against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday May 28. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images for Barbarians)

Fiji Water Flying Fijians coach Simon Raiwalui has handed the captaincy to centre Semi Radradra and named five new caps in his squad to face Samoa who give a debut to ex-All Black Steve Luatua in Apia in the Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

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Back rowers Meli Derenalagi and Vilive Miramira , centre Iosefo Masi and full back Ilaisa Droasese will make their debuts in the starting XV while the exciting talent of Joseva Tamani is set for a first cap off the bench. Luatua at No6 and he is in a powerful Samoa back row completed by the equally experienced Jack Lam and Fritz Lee who captains the team.

Ex-Wallaby Christian Leali’afano retains the Samoa No10 shirt after his matching winning kicking performance against Japan while on the bench there are potential first caps for ex-USA front-row forward Titi Lamositele and hooker Sama Malolo.

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Radradra is relishing leading his country and said: “It’s an honour and privilege for the coaching staff to have that trust in me to lead the team and I’m really looking forward to playing with the young and experienced players.

“We have a big group so everyone has the chance so it’s now time for them to prove. They are not new to rugby but they just maybe new in playing for Flying Fijians and I think they will do the job. Playing the Pacific Islanders team is always tough but we have really prepared well and we are ready to meet Samoa.

“I have played with Iosefo Masi a few times, especially in the 7s and starting with him this week is not new for me. We have been playing together for a long time and it’s a dream come true for me.”

Fiji have a new front row in Eroni Mawi, Tevita Ikanivere and Luke Tagi while Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta who made his debut from the bench last week in the win over Tonga, partners  Isoa Nasilasila at lock.

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FIJI TEAM:
1. Eroni Mawi
2. Tevita Ikanivere
3. Luke Tagi
4. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta
5. Isoa Nasilasila
6. Meli Derenalagi *
7. Vilive Miramira *
8. Viliame Mata
9. Simione Kuruvoli
10. Caleb Muntz
11. Kalaveti Ravouvou
12. Semi Radradra {c}
13. Iosefo Masi *
14. Selestino Ravutaumada
15. Ilaisa Droasese*

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Zuriel Togiatama
17. Peni Ravai
18. Samu Tawake
19. Joseva Tamani*
20. Kitione Kamikamica
21. Peni Matawalu
22. Vilimoni Botitu
23. Josua Tuisova

* uncapped players

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Comments

2 Comments
i
isaiah 333 days ago

Great to see several Fiji Drua in the side . What they bring is energy and syngery that will take the Flying Fijians to another level

L
Lee Byron 333 days ago

Toso Viti!

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