‘Opportunity to regroup’
22 September, 2023, 12:40 pm
The FIJI Water Flying Fijians are soaking in the atmosphere with time off before their next Rugby World Cup pool C match against Georgia.
After a disappointing 26-32 loss to Wales in their opening game, the side bounced back to beat Australia 22-15 and keep their campaign alive.
The side will face Georgia on October 1 at the Stade de Bordeaux.
Head coach Simon Raiwalui said the 13-day break before facing the Lelos was a good opportunity to wind down and regroup.
“Obviously we’re very happy after the weekend. The boys prepared well and put in a good shift. We had yesterday and today (Tuesday and Wednesday) off just to recover mentally and physically, so we’ll start preparing again tomorrow,” Raiwalui said.
“There are no injury updates at the moment. We haven’t had training yet so we’ll be back tomorrow. There’s a couple of niggles but nothing major.
“This is a good time to get our feet up this weekend and watch a few games and prepare for the next one.”
He said the win against Australia — Fiji’s only third against the Wallabies and the first after 69 years — was well celebrated back in the islands.
“Rugby is big in Fiji so the passion is there. You’d probably seen the videos out there of people driving in the early hours of the morning, jumping around. So it’s really good to get back.
“We’re very appreciative and we’ve got good support here in France as well — with all the Fijians and the French community. I think we’re everyone’s second favourite team, so it (support) has been a very good campaign so far.”
He said the team would not be carried away from the hype of the win, trying to block out the expectations it had brought and sticking to a game plan.
“It (the win over Australia) doesn’t really affect us. We’ve got an objective to prepare and if we prepare well then we’ll get the good results.
“We try to block out all the noise coming into camp. We’ve got our objectives against Georgia next weekend so we’ll work towards that. Squad member Zuriel Togiatama said while the win was “historic”, they remained focus on the task ahead.
“It was an historic moment, especially off the back of (the loss against) Wales. The boys did well to dig deep, focus on the task ahead which I feel we did very well,” Togiatama said.
“In regards to our next game against Georgia, we’re moving on from the win that we’ve had and focusing on things we can do better.
“At this stage we’re trying to refresh ourselves, back away from rugby. We’re back (at training) on Thursday and see what the coaches have for us.
“The support back home has been unreal. With the upset that we had (against Australia), more support has come through since. We’ve had more families and friends come and check on us emotionally and spiritually, and I can feel the energy coming through.
“We have been working hard, especially in our IPP times or the times that we get to improve our own skills. The boys have taken it really seriously and kept each other accountable in those areas. It’s showing on the field and it starts from that belief not only in each other but also in what we’re trying to do.”