‘Tough Irish’

THE Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are expected to face an uphill battle against the Ireland side this weekend.

Fiji has never beaten Ireland since their first encounter in Fiji in 1976.

The match recorded a close scoreline with Ireland winning 8-0.

The Irish then dominated the show winning 44-8 in 1995, 64-17 in 2002, 41-6 in 2009 and 53-0 in 2012.

With a big 38-3 win over the Springboks last weekend, the Irish are expected to be unstoppable after Fiji’s 19-10 loss to Italy.

Despite the big win, Ireland fullback Rob Kearney has rated the Fijians highly.

In an interview with Skysports, Kearney said Fiji could cause Ireland more problems than South Africa did last Saturday.

“We know the threats they have and some of their guys are playing as good as they have over the last few years,” Skysports reported.

“They’re a team on the up and improving a huge amount. Individually, we know they’re very good, but collectively they’re improving.

“They look like much more of a well-coached side. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge.”

Some of the players to be on Ireland’s hit list include Josua Tuisova, Levani Botia, Leone Nakarawa, Semi Kunatani, Nemani Nadolo, Timoci Nagusa, Vereniki Goneva, Peceli Yato, Jale Vatubua, Nikola Matawalu and Akapusi Qera.

“They pose a massive threat individually, the key for us is to make sure our systems are in place really well and we don’t knock off to give them those individual opportunities.

“The same way South Africa last the weekend have so many talented guys, but if we can work together and make sure there’s no chinks in our defensive line, then it’s tough for them to showcase their talents.”

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has confirmed Saturday’s Test at home in Dublin is a 51,000 fans sell-out.

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