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U20 wants good start

Emoni Narawa
Monday, June 02, 2014

THE Vodafone Fiji under-20 side will be hoping to beat Wales for the second time when the two sides duel in round one of the Junior World Championship at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe, Auckland today.

Fiji last beat the Baby Welsh Dragons 34-20 in 2011 under the guidance of then coach Inoke Male which had players such as Metuisela Talebula and Alipate Ratini.

And heading into today's clash, Wales which finished as runner-up last year is highly favoured to beat the Baby Flying Fijians on paper.

Both teams have met four times, Wales getting the better of Fiji three times.

However, the fired up Akuila Tabualevu-side is optimistic for a win to set the platform in its JWC campaign.

Fiji is targeting a place in the top eight, a fate they last achieved four years ago. Fiji's best finish in the competition was sixth under the influence of Male.

Fiji U20 coach Salimoni Ravouvou knew it would not be an easy tussle to beat Wales.

He said the team was well prepared to face whatever challenge in New Zealand.

"I am taking a good team and most probably a well prepared one. With Akuila Tabualevu back to captain the team this year, this will boost the players' morale," Ravouvou told Times Sport during the team naming last month.

"Our target is to improve each game as we move on in the tournament.

"The strength of this team is on our working together as a unit, our identity and of course to be proud of the jersey which they will wear on the day."

Fiji lost its last outing against Wales 44-18 in 2012. Twice in a row, Fiji had finished 11th in the competition.

Ravouvou added they would work hard to achieve the goal of making the top eight.

The Fiji and Wales game kicks off at 3.35pm.

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