THE stage is set for what is turning to be a fast-paced affair when the Flying Fijians take on the might of Scotland at Churchill Park in Lautoka this afternoon.
Indications are Scotland will be out to dominate broken play with the announcement of a fast backrow.
Scotland is expected to be strong in the tight-five which will put our scrums and lineouts under pressure.
It seems a dominance in the ruck is part of the Scottish attack plan.
It is interesting when one considers the fact that Eddie Jones’ attack for the Japanese against the Flying Fijians last week relied heavily on short quick rucks and good ball security. Stephan Betham worked out a plan for Manu Samoa against Fiji that relied on it as well.
Scottish looseforwards like Alasdair Strockosch will be eager to dominate proceedings very early in the game.
This could eventually shift the focus of attention onto our attacks on the fringes of the rucks and keeping our first and second receivers under pressure.
National coach Inoke Male has named a pretty solid backrow with Nadroga man Iliesa Ratuva coming in at blindside flanker, New Zealand-based Malakai Ravulo at openside flanker and skipper Netani Talei at number eight.
The trio will, however, have their hands full in the battle for turn-over balls.
It will be interesting to see Jonetani Ralulu at flyhalf outside halfback Nikola Matawalu.
Watisoni Votu and Waisea Nayacalevu have virtually made the wingers’ positions their own with strong displays against Japan and Samoa last week.
We hope our strong showing against Samoa in the battles upfront will stand us in good stead.
Coach Male obviously has something up his sleeve. We hope it is going to reap us benefits this afternoon.
Fans have longed for such top level internationals over the years.
Today we have an opportunity to force the world to sit up and take notice.
Today is about redemption to some extent. It is about shouting out to the world. It is about setting a platform for every local rugger to aim for.
It is about taking our game to another level.
When we consider that, we must get behind our team today.
Each member of the Flying Fijians this afternoon must be assured and comforted by the thought that they have over 850,000 people who call Fiji home cheering them on.
Today is about self belief. It is about belief in each other and a willingness to play with pride, confidence and commitment. Today they will carry our hopes and aspirations. Go Fiji go.