Flying Fijians

Sam Matavesi in social media plea after his Fijian World Cup kit is stolen in London car park theft

The hooker, who plays for Cornish Pirates in the English Championship, started for the Fijians in their matches versus Australia, Georgia and Wales and came off the bench in their other pool game versus Uruguay at the finals in Japan. 

It capped an incredible year so far for Matavesi, who also featured for Toulouse this year as a short-term medical cover signing towards the end of the Top 14 season. 

However, the 27-year-old has now taken to social media in the hope that some treasured possessions collected in Japan can be returned to him. 

'We will certainly use 2007 as a reference point... history can inspire us'

McKee’s team end their group campaign against Wales, having beaten Georgia, but lost to Uruguay and Australia. “There is a lot at stake for Wales, and they want to finish top of the pool in their passage to the play-offs (quarter-finals),” Fiji head coach McKee said.

“For us, it’s an opportunity. We know what a good team Wales are and what a challenge playing them will be. One thing with Wales and the strength of their team is that they have a number of options. They don’t play one way.

Fiji not looking past Wales

Victory would ensure automatic qualification for the next World Cup and also keep alive their faint hopes of advancing to the quarter finals.

But coach John McKee said they're not looking beyond the 80 minutes on the field at Oita Stadium.

"The players are very much focused on their performance in the game because, as players and as a team, what we can control is how we perform," McKee said.

"We look for our top performance and, if we can put in our top performance, then those other things look after themselves."

Fiji make one change for Wales

Viliame Mata replaces Peceli Yato at number eight. In the reserves, prop Eroni Mawi has been swapped with Lee-Roy Atalifo in the only other change to the 23 that comprehensively thrashed Georgia in Osaka, 45-10.

Fiji's quarter final hopes are effectively over after earlier defeats by Australia and Uruguay but head coach John McKee said his squad was determined to sign off from the tournament with a positive result.

"We see this final pool game as both a challenge and an opportunity. It is important to finish the pool stage on a high note," he said.

Flying Fijians all smiles after win over Georgia

Fiji scored six of their seven tries after half-time to secure a vital bonus point win, with man of the match Semi Radradra scoring twice and setting up three other tries.

Coach John McKee said the whole squad was determined to make amends after last week's defeat against Uruguay.

"Our boys were bitterly disappointed and they really wanted to make a statement today," McKee said.

Upset Fiji fans turn on coach John McKee

After losing to Australia last Saturday, Fiji were shocked by an impassioned Uruguay side, who took a 24-12 half-time lead and managed to hold onto a 30-27 win. 

Boasting some world-class players, Fiji were tipped by many to cause some upsets at this year’s RWC with the Wallabies and Wales also in their pool. However, their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals now look very slim. 

Fiji's fresh faces challenged to fire in next Rugby World Cup game against Uruguay

The Flying Fijians threatened an almighty upset against Australia on Saturday, leading the two-time champions for large periods of the game in Sapporo before fading in the final stages of the 39-21 defeat.

Captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Leone Nakarawa and Semi Radradra are the only players asked to back up in the starting 15 against Uruguay and coach John McKee has challenged the new players in the team to put up their hands and play well.

Flying Fijians ready for Rugby World Cup opener

The 2007 quarter finalists managed only one win apiece in the previous two World Cup campaigns but have been tipped as a genuine contender to make the knockout rounds in Japan.

The Wallabies were too strong for Fiji when they met in the pool stage four years ago but coach John McKee says his team has made massive progress since then.

"Our squad has probably been a bit more settled. Last time I came in just over a year out from the World Cup, so we were still working on our combinations going into the World Cup. I think this time we're much more stable around the team.

Flying Fijian Radradra moves to the wing

The Flying Fijians played a trump card in announcing their team for Saturday's match in Sapporo by shifting the explosive Radradra to the left wing.

It's the same position where the former rugby league star was a five-season NRL sensation for Parramatta, scoring 82 tries in 94 games until 2017.

All of the 27-year-old's Test rugby appearances have been at outside centre and he has been primarily used there at French club Bordeaux.

Huge changes to the Wallabies since last time they played Fiji

Cheika is set to go close to the team who stunned the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth last month, unquestionably their best performance in the four years since reaching the last Rugby World Cup final.

That 2015 team has undergone an upheaval, most significantly in the last two seasons as results dived. Last year they crashed to an unacceptable four win-nine loss return.

A host of players who started Australia’s most recent clash with Fiji, back in June 2017, have either been dropped or are in Japan but no longer ranked a starting player.