John McKee believes that Fiji will face a Wales team with “a number of options” in Wednesday’s World Cup clash. Fiji must win at Oita Stadium to have any chance of progressing from Pool D, but they would still need a highly unlikely combination of other results working in their favour.
McKee’s team end their group campaign against Wales, having beaten Georgia, but lost to Uruguay and Australia. “There is a lot at stake for Wales, and they want to finish top of the pool in their passage to the play-offs (quarter-finals),” Fiji head coach McKee said.
“For us, it’s an opportunity. We know what a good team Wales are and what a challenge playing them will be. One thing with Wales and the strength of their team is that they have a number of options. They don’t play one way.
“They can play the direct route through the multi-phase off nine, and they can also play around the edges. They also have a good kicking game and will put you under pressure with contestable kicks. That’s something we have to deal with.”
Fiji beat Wales at the 2007 World Cup in Nantes when a 38-34 victory knocked their opponents out of the tournament, although Wales defeated the Pacific Islanders in the 2011 and 2015 competitions.
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McKee added: “We will certainly use that (2007) as a reference point, and that is one of the great Fijian performances. History can inspire us, but the result will be determined on how the players play in the game.”
McKee has called Edinburgh number eight Viliame Mata into his starting line-up to face Wales as a solitary change following the victory over Georgia last time out. “We are training as if it is a final for us,” Mata said.
“It is a big game against Wales. They have some world-class players and some I have seen playing in the PRO14, so I know they will bring a big game.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Warren Gatland on the two changes he has made to his Wales starting line-up versus Fiji
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