Pacific on show

Vereniki Goneva and Benito Masilevu goes through backline move during the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians team training session at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on Thursday, June 07, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

EXPECT physical, rugged and the best of Pacific rugby rivalry on Saturday between the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians and Manu Samoa at the ANZ Stadium in Suva. They meet in round one of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup tomorrow after the first match between Tonga and Georgia.

The John McKee-coached hosts will be “menacing” and are poised to strike down any Manu Samoa challenge.

McKee has named two of the best ruggers in the world, EPCR European Player of the Year Leone Nakawara to lead the forwards and Aviva Premiership Player of the Year, Vereniki Goneva to spearhead the backs for a powerful start against Samoa.

“The boys have really gelled together across the last couple of weeks” McKee said.

McKee knows Manua Samoa, named after a Samoa warrior, will be very strong and physical. He has named Nakarawa, Campese Ma’afu, Olympian Viliame Mata, in his first start, and captain Akapusi Qera to help hold Samoa’s scrum while Goneva leads the backline of Sevanaia Galala, Jale Vatabua and Benito Masilevu.

“The centres have been gelling really well and between them we’ve got the ability to play both a direct and expansive game. “Our Fijian fans have the opportunity to witness some truly world class players in action this weekend”.

Four players will make their debut. They are Eroni Mawi, Alivereti Veitokani, Ratu Vere Vugatoko and Galala.

“There’s a lot of international experience in our match day squad and the debutants will have plenty of support around them. It’s up to each player to make the most of their opportunities when they’re presented with the white jersey.”

The Test starts at 3.30pm after the Georgia versus Tonga match at 1pm.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians: 1. Campese Ma’afu, 2. Talemaitoga Tuapati, 3. Manasa Saulo, 4. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 5. Leone Nakawara, 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7. Viliame Mata, 8. Akapusi Qera (C), 9. Henry Seniloli, 10. Ben Volavola, 11. Vereniki Goneva, 12. Sevanaia Galala, 13. Jale Vatabua, 14. Benito Masilevu, 15. Kini Murimurivalu. Reserves: 16. Ratu Vere Vugakoto, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Ropate Rinakama, 19. Sikeli Nabou, 20. Nemani Nagusa, 21. Serupepeli Vularika, 22. Alivereti Veitokani, 23. Timoci Nagusa

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