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Waqa shows faith in starting XV

Saturday, April 28, 2007

WARRIORS coach Eddie Waqa has stuck with his starting fifteen that beat the Barbarians last week to face Upolu Samoa at Lawaqa Park today.

Waqa has made only one change to the bench with Alefoso Yalayalatabua returning from his mother's funeral.

Kicking ace and former national under-21 rep Taniela Rawaqa retains his place at fullback.

The exciting Isoa Naivua will pair Paula Tiko on the wing while Gabiriele Lovobalavu and Isoa Rokobici retain their midfield partnership.

In the forwards the Warriors coach has roped in Ovalau flanker Viliame Maya while Highlanders captain Dale Tonewai has moved to number eight.

Halfback Aporosa Vata will captain the side.

Waqa said last week's 20-14 win over the Barbarians has laid the platform for his boys to work from.

He said the win has boosted the moral of the players who have set a goal to claim the Pacific Rugby Cup title.

"We know that tomorrow's (today) match is very crucial if we want to stay in the competition," Waqa said.

"It should be an exciting match because Upolu Samoa will also need a win to stay alive."

The Barbarians are in Nuku'alofa to face the high-flying Tau'uta Reds, while Savai'i Samoa takes on Tautahi Gold.

National sevens squad member Mosese Volavola is expected to start the match at open side flanker.

The Barbarians have 10 points from four matches and need to beat the Reds to reach the final and it will also need to deny the Reds any bonus points in order to seal its final spot. It is a must win for both teams as they are tied with 11 points.

In another fixture on Sunday, Savai'i Samoa will take on Tautahi Gold at Apia Park.

The Gold side has an outside chance to make it to the final. The side needs to win its encounter by a bonus point to keep its chances alive.

Fiji Warriors (15-1): Taniela Rawaqa, Paula Tiko, Isoa Rokobici, Gabiriele Lovobalavu, ,Isoa Neivua, Waisea Luveniyali, Aporosa Vata (capt), Dale Tonawai, Mikaele Maya, Samu Vakaruru, Jone Qovu, Langi Peters, Savenaca Driu, Sunia Koto, Tiko Matawalu.

Reserves: Aseri Buli, Alefoso Yalayalatabua, Aseri Tale, Sairusi Rokosalu, Kelemedi Bola, Luke Rogoyawa, Lloyd Hazelman.