Matawalu: Fiji’s rise no surprise

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Nikola Matawalu in action during the teams training session at the Red Hurricanes Training Ground in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

Former Fiji half-back Nikola Matawalu says the FIJI Water Flying Fijians’ recent rise on the world scene is no surprise.

Matawalu played 36 Tests for Fiji and appeared in the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.

He appeared on the podcast “Maul or Nothing”.

The 34-year-old said there was a different approach with the Fiji team in France that stood out for him.

He said the close game against Wales and the win over Australia was something that all Fijians could be proud of.

“I’m really happy that the team has finally beaten Australia after 69 years. I’ve been trying to beat Australia over the years. This team has created history to beat the Wallabies,” he said.

“It’s like winning the world cup. Because rugby in Fiji is very big and the side beating a tier-one nation, like they did against England, is of another level.

“I was fortunate to be with them for the preparation against England, and I saw it was totally different from my time — everything was done in detail. I’m not surprised by the results.”

Matawalu said the side had a good preparation leading up to the RWC and the professional set-up had helped a lot.

“There is a professional approach about this team with everyone doing their little bit during training,” he said.

“The involvement of the Fijian Drua has helped develop players into professional athletes.”

He said the team had the makings to reach the RWC semi-finals in France.

The side faces Georgia on Sunday at 3.45 am.

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