Editorial | The countdown

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Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup 2023 – Pool C – Wales v Fiji – Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux, France – September 10, 2023 Fiji players huddle after the match REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File photo

The stage is set for what is building up to be a thriller tomorrow morning when the Flying Fijians line up against the Australian Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup in France.

National coach Simon Raiwalui has named a powerful side against Eddie Jones’ side.

What is creating a lot of hype though is the announcement of players with Fijian connections in the Wallabies side.

After that exciting clash against Wales in round one of the competition, attention is now shifting to tomorrow’s big game.

Both teams head into the game knowing it may determine a lot of things for them.

Tomorrow is when heritage or their connections to the motherland will be placed by the wayside for the Wallabies’ Fijian players.

For the duration of the clash, they will be representing Australia.

On the other side of the divide, Raiwalui has stuck to the tested tight five of Eroni Mawi at loosehead prop, Sam Matavesi at hooker and Luke Tagi at tighthead prop.

He keeps Isoa Nasilasila and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta as our secondrowers.

In the backrow, he has opted to shift Monday’s openside flanker Lekima Tagitagivalu to the blindside of the scrum and named Levani Botia at number 7.

Viliame Mata stays at number eight.

It is clear the emphasis is on controlling the breakdowns against a highly skilled Australian pack.

There is pace, confidence, and grunt in our backrow, and we will certainly need that to assert control on the game on Monday.

This is where a lot of the action will come from along the trenches.

If there is stability in the set pieces, then the breakdowns will be the focus of attention in the battle for control of possession.

We have a backline that exudes confidence and excitement.

The key will be how much possession they get on the day to display feats of magic.

The selection of Simione Kuruvoli at halfback is obviously in keeping with that line of thought it seems.

Teti Tela has been named at pivot and fans will look up to him to control our game and direct our attacks tomorrow.

He has some powerful names outside him, with ‘the bus’ Josua Tuisova named at second five eight, inside skipper Waisea Nayacalevu at centre.

Semi Radradra and Jiuta Wainiqolo are on the wings with Ilaisa Droasese at fullback.

This is it.

This is the team fans will be banking their hopes on.

We have an exciting backline that needs the pack to lay the base for them.

In the bigger scheme of things though, tomorrow is going to demand concentration on the task at hand.

The players know the importance of this clash.

They know the demands placed on their shoulders.

They know they will have to be disciplined.

They will be carrying the hopes and aspirations of an expectant nation.

We say go Fiji, go.

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