Fiji line up familiar foes

2014-11-06 18:00
John McKee (AFP)

Marseille - Fiji's New Zealander coach John McKee on Thursday picked a side with nine French-based players to tackle France in Marseille on Saturday.

Along with three substitutes plying their trade in France, 12 of Fiji's 23-man match-day squad play for teams in the top three divisions there.

The main threat for Les Bleus will come from the top two try-scorers in the Top 14, Grenoble's Alipate Ratini, who lines up on the left wing, and Metuisela Talebula of Bordeaux-Begles, normally a wing but shunted to full-back to make way for second division Perpignan's Watisoni Votu to take the No.14 shirt.

Another Top 14 player in La Rochelle's Lepani Botia takes his place at inside centre.

Two more Pro D2 players line up in the forwards with Narbonne hooker Sunia Koto and Agen lock Api Ratuniyarawa joining a Top 14 back row of Domeniko Waqaniburotu (Brive), Akapusi Qera (Montpellier) and Masi Matadigo (Lyon).

On the bench, Montpellier wing Timoci Nagusa is joined by Pro D2 Biarritz's lock Nemia Soqeta and prop Isei Colatei, who plays for third division (Federale 1) Nevers.

Alongside the plethora of French-based players there will be a lot of interest in seeing Harlequins' Asaeli Tikoirotuma at outside centre, despite playing wing in the English Premiership.

Surprisingly, Leicester centre Vereniki Gonewa and Stade Francais counterpart Waisea Vuidravuwalu have not even made the squad, while Crusaders' centre Nemani Nadolo is only given a spot on the bench.

Two players in the starting line-up play in Romania, fly-half Jonetani Ralulu and prop Manasa Saulo, while replacement hooker Viliame Veikoso is the only home-based player in the 23.



15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard LeRoux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Ménini

Substitutes: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Xavier Chiocci, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 21 Charles Ollivon, 22 Rory Kockott, 23 Remi Tales, 24 Mathieu Bastareaud, 25 Maxime Mermoz


15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Lepani Botia, 11 Alipate Ratini, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu

Substitutes: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Isei Colatei, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Henri Seniloli, 22 Nemani Nadolo, 23 Timoci Nagusa

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