29 September, 2023, 2:14 am Central - 21°C Rain

Raiwalui names Flying Fijians wider squad

Raiwalui names Flying Fijians wider squad

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 08/06/2023
Flying Fijians Coach Simon Raiwalui

23 players from the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua who are currently preparing for the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinal against the Crusaders this Saturday have been named in the 45-member Fiji Water Flying Fijians squad for their July Test matches and pre-Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.

The squad also includes 13 players from French Top 14, 5 from the English Premiership and 1 each from French Pro D2, United Rugby Championship, Japan Rugby League One and Super Rugby.

With niggling injuries to a few players, Coach Simon Raiwalui will await the outcome of this weekend’s quarterfinal clash between the Fijian Drua and the Crusaders before naming the final squad of 38 that marches into camp later this month.

The 12 front rowers in the squad consist of loosehead props Peni Ravai, Eroni Mawi, Haereti Hetet, Meli Tuni, hookers Sam Matavesi, Tevita Ikanivere, Zuriel Togiatama, Mesulame Dolokoto and tighthead props Mesake Doge, Luke Tagi, Samu Tawake, and Jone Koroiduadua.

41 cap Flying Fijian lock Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, has been named in the second row alongside Isoa Nasilasila and Temo Mayanavanua.

The utility forwards are packed with experience with the likes of Albert Tuisue, Peceli Yato and Drua pack of Lekima Tagitagivalu, Joseva Tamani and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

The robust back row experience of Levani Botia, Viliame Mata and Kitione Kamikamica will guide young Meli Derenalagi and Vilive Miramira.

An all-Fijian Drua halfback trio of Frank Lomani, Simione Kuruvoli and Peni Matawalu have been named in the wider squad, Teti Tela, Caleb Muntz and Ben Volavola as fly-half.

The line-breakers creating opportunities in midfield are Josua Tuisova, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Adrea Cocagi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Iosefo Masi, and Seta Tamanivalu.

Raiwalui has also roped in specialist players in the Back 3 who have been in their best form for their clubs.

Vinaya Habosi, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Drosese and Setareki Tuicuvu have all been included in the extended squad.

Semi Radradra, Sireli Maqala and Vilimoni Botitu are named as utility backs.

Fiji’s July Test series will start on the 22nd of July where the Flying Fijians will meet Tonga at 12pm at Churchill Park, then they will play Samoa at 12pm on the 29th of July, and meet Japan at 10.15pm on the 5th of August.

Fiji will play France twice in pre Rugby World Cup warm up matches, the first on the 20th of August and the second a week later on the 27th.


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