World Cup - Team Guide: Fiji

Thu, 08 Sep 17:11:00 2011

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Fiji's players perform their traditional Haka - 0

FIJI

Colours: White shirt, black shorts.

World ranking: 15.

Coach: Sam Domoni.

Will be under pressure to produce results at the World Cup, as Ilivasi Tabua – who guided Fiji to the last eight in 2007 - wants his old job back. He was sacked as Fiji coach in 2009 for alleged misbehaviour, but recently won an appeal against his dismissal and claims he has the backing of several provincial unions to return.

Squad:

BACKS Born Caps Tries Cons Pens DGs Pts

Seremaia Bai 4/1/79 39 4 39 45 1 236

Vitori Buatava 1/11/85 10 0 0 0 0 0

Ravai Fatiaki 1/3/87 6 1 0 0 0 5

Vereniki Goneva 5/4/84 18 8 0 0 0 40

Iliesa Keresoni 27/1/87 9 1 0 0 0 5

Nicky Little 13/9/76 68 2 117 140 2 670

Gaby Lovobalavu 20/6/85 12 1 0 0 0 5

Waisea Luveniyali 23/7/85 13 0 5 3 0 19

Kini Murimurivalu 15/5/89 3 1 0 0 0 5

Napolioni Nalaga 7/4/86 5 2 0 0 0 10

Nemia Ranuku 21/1/86 12 2 0 0 0 10

Michael Tagicakibau 9/5/85 4 0 0 0 0 0

Albert Vulivuli 26/5/85 8 1 0 0 0 5

FORWARDS

Waisea Daveta 28/3/89 3 0 0 0 0 0

Sekonaia Kalou 6/4/84 6 1 0 0 0 5

Sunia Koto 15/4/80 29 1 0 0 0 5

Sisa Koyamaibole 6/3/81 44 3 0 0 0 15

Wame Lewaravu 24/9/83 14 0 0 0 0 0

Campese Ma’afu 19/12/84 10 2 0 0 0 10

Deacon Manu 18/2/79 9 0 0 0 0 0

Masi Matadigo 8/8/82 6 0 0 0 0 0

Leone Nakarawa 2/4/88 8 1 0 0 0 5

Rupeni Nasiga 8/10/85 9 2 0 0 0 10

Akapusi Qera 24/4/84 22 5 0 0 0 25

Malakai Ravulo 22/9/83 6 1 0 0 0 5

Setefano Samoca 10/2/81 3 0 0 0 0 0

Netani Talei 19/3/83 17 2 0 0 0 10

Talemaitoga Taupati 16/8/84 10 1 0 0 0 5

Viliame Veikoso 4/4/82 13 0 0 0 0 0

Dominiko Waqaniburotu 20/4/86 8 1 0 0 0 5

Key player: Akapusi Qera.

One of the main reasons Fiji reached the quarter-finals in 2007. The imposing Gloucester flanker scored three tries in four games through his power, pace and physicality, and Fiji will need more of the same if they are to qualify for the knockout stages again.

2010-11 form:

13/11/10 v France (Nantes) L 12-34

19/11/10 v Wales (Cardiff) D 16-16

27/11/10 v Italy (Modena) L 16-24

2/7/11 v Tonga (Lautoka) L 21-45

9/7/11 v Samoa (Suva) W 36-18

13/7/11 v Japan (Lautoka) L 13-24

22/7/11 v New Zealand (Dunedin) L 14-60

13/8/11 v Tonga (Lautoka) W 27-12

19/8/11 v Tonga (Lautoka) L 20-32

World Cup pedigree:

Quarter-finals: 1987, 2007.

Quarter-final play-off: 1999.

Group stage: 1991, 2003.

Did not qualify: 1995.

Record: P20, W8, D0, L12.

Most appearances: Nicky Little, Mosese Rauluni 11.

Most points: Little 125.

Most tries: Viliame Satala 4.

High:

The Pool B decider in 2007 at Nantes, where Fiji edged Wales 38-34 in one of the matches of the tournament to qualify for the quarter-finals for only the second time. They seemed to be cruising at 25-3, but then collapsed to trail 34-31 with six minutes left – until Graham Dewes touched down.

Low:

1995 – when they failed to qualify for the finals for the one and only time so far, after losing to Tonga and Western Samoa.

Hero: Nicky Little.

As well as being Fiji’s World Cup record points-scorer, Little was a key factor in their progress to the last eight in 2007, netting 42 points from just three games, including 18 in their decisive pool win over Wales. Had he not been injured for the quarter-final 37-20 defeat against South Africa, maybe Fiji could have upset the Springboks.

Villain: Severo Koroduadua.

The full-back may have scored 268 points for the Pacific Islanders in 28 Tests, but he must have had nightmares about the four he threw away in the quarter-final against France in 1987. With the game in the balance, Koroduadua dropped the ball as he looked to be on the verge of touching down and France breathed a sigh of relief to win 31-16.

2011 prospects:

Fiji’s chances of reaching the knockout stages have been improved by lock Leone Nakarawa’s decision to resign from the army, as the New Zealand government had threatened to ban anyone with connections to the Fijian military. However, the Fijians have not helped themselves by omitting several experienced players.

Group matches:

10/9/11 v Namibia (Rotorua)

17/9/11 v South Africa (Wellington)

25/9/11 v Samoa (Auckland)

2/10/11 v Wales (Hamilton)

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