June 15, 2021
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Botia to lead Flying Fijians

France based rugged centre Levani Botia will lead the Flying Fijians in their two test matches against the All Blacks next month.

Head Coach Vern Cotter named his 33-member extended squad for the New Zealand tour today.

The squad has a mixture of experienced and young players and Cotter said he is looking forward to getting the players together an they will have to keep things simple.

“It’s an exciting squad and a perfect opportunity for the players who have been training well and the exposure within the squad against other confirmed international players will be fruitful.”

The players and management traveling to New Zealand will be in quarantine for 14 days in Christchurch before being cleared to train as a group for the first test match. 

Cotter also said the players will be given individual training programs while in quarantine so that they can keep themselves active because it will be critical when they come out of quarantine, they are ready to prepare and play rugby.
He added that he's looking forward to continuing from where they left in the Autumn Nations Cup where they defeated Georgia 38-24 last November.

“We looking for continuity from what we did in November but we have got an open mind with regards to players and how they feel after playing the whole year for their clubs.
"So we will be accessing everybody individually to see how they feel, are they prepared to play the All Blacks in the first test match or are they best to play in the second test match and we will make choices from there” Cotter added.

Fiji Rugby general manager Simon Raiwalui said they have been working hard so that the players traveling from Europe and the players plus management leaving Fiji on Friday don’t face any difficulties in terms of the COVID-19 protocols.
“Everybody has to follow quarantine protocols to be able to play rugby in New Zealand and our team headed by Chief Executive Officer John O’Connor have done a lot of work behind the scene to organize the procedures.”
“World Rugby has been actively and positively helping us to get across this so there is a lot of work done so that we can get the players to travel from Europe and get to New Zealand.”

The Flying Fijians will play the All Blacks 10 and 17 July in Dunedin and Hamilton.

Flying Fijians squad:

Loosehead Prop- Peni Ravai, Eroni Mawi, Haereiti Hetet 

Hookers-Sam Matavesi. Peniami Narisia, Mesulame Dolokoto          

Tighthead Prop-Luke Tagi, Mesake Doge, Leeroy Atalifo                                                     

Locks-Tevita Ratuva, Temo Mayanavanua, Leone Nakarawa, Albert Tuisue     

Back Row- Mesulame Kunavula, Kitione Kamikamica, John Dyer, Peceli Yato          

Halfbacks- Frank Lomani, Mosese Sorovi, Simione Kuruvoli              

Flyhalves- Ben Volavola, Teti Tela                            

Center- Levani Botia (C), Vilimoni Botitu, Waisea Nayacalevu, Eneriko Buliruarua, Onisi Ratave   

Wingers-Nemani Nadolo, Vinaya Habosi, Manasa Mataele, Eroni Sau                           

Fullbacks-Seta Tuicuvu, Kini Murimurivalu              

By Romeka Romena  

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