Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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7 Fijians lit up World Cup pool stages

Seven Flying Fijians lit up the 2023 Rugby World Cup pool stage matches with their electrifying performance after weeks of exhilarating action loaded with thrills and spills.

Excitement is never far away when Pacific sides are on the field, leaving only one thing to do; curate their best XV of players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

According to Planet Rugby, a rock in the scrum and imperious in the carry, prop Eroni Mawi is a well-drilled and technically sound loosehead from top to bottom.

He is a massive player for his side up against England in the quarter-finals. If he continues his form, it will make for a brilliant scrum battle.

The monstrous second-row Isoa Nasilasila relishes the hard work in the engine room through hitting a lot of rucks, carrying the ball hard and making the hits on defence.

He is one of those players that are impressively athletic for their sheer size.

A master of the breakdown, Levani Botia on flanks has been quick to get over the ball and once he is set the defence needs a forklift to move.

That is not the only string to his bow as he made 28 carries during the pool stage, 48.1 per cent of which were dominant as he got over the gain-line more than half the time.

Often one will find that the best teams have a rock for a number eight and that is exactly the case with Fiji. Viliame Mata ranked fifth in the tournament for carries with 44 which was massive for his side considering a ridiculous 70.5 per cent of those carries committed two or more tacklers. He is ultra-reliable as a player who makes very few errors.

The versatile and explosive runner in truth did not reach his best during the pool stages but that is measuring up to Semi Radradra’s lofty standards. There is no doubt that the former Bristol man is a massive player for his side heading into the World Cup quarter-finals.

An absolute mountain of man who can shift as well, Josua Tuisova carrying ability is central to his team. He’s rock solid defence and breakdown prowess and you have a game-breaker.

The Flying Fijians were a joy to watch in the pool stage and few more were as exciting than the skipper Waisea Nayacalevu, who at times took it upon himself to smash the game wide open, as he did against Wales with a wonderful solo effort which kick-started a mini-comeback.

His dynamism and power in the carry is incredible and makes him very hard to defend.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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