Rugby World Cup 2011

Fiji's 'Beast' hunting a try

2011-09-15 21:42
Napolioni Nalaga (File)

Wellington - Fiji winger Napolioni Nalaga will go looking for work if the run of play eludes him against South Africa in their Rugby World Cup clash on Saturday, just to have a chance to eclipse the 24-year-old feat of his father.

Kavekini Nalaga played in the 1987 World Cup and scored a try for the Fijians against Argentina in Hamilton. His son Napolioni has already matched that with his try in the 49-25 victory over Namibia on Saturday.

"Yeah, I hope so," Nalaga told Reuters when asked if he was targeting a try at Wellington Regional Stadium to surpass his father.

"Though I may have to go looking for it if it doesn't come my way," he added, giving fellow winger Vereniki Goneva - who scored four tries in the Fijians' victory over Namibia - a playful nudge as he walked by.

The 1.87m-tall and 102kg Nalaga initially played openside flanker before his father told him to play centre, then shifted to the wing as he grew older.

He spent four years in France at Clermont where he earned the nickname, "the Beast", from fans for his rampaging play but has recently joined Australian Super rugby franchise the Western Force on a one-year contract as their marquee player.

"I've watched Super Rugby for a while and I felt that I always wanted to play in it, and it was just the right time to move," he added. "I wanted to be closer to home."

The 25-year-old Nalaga will form a potent back three combination with Goneva and his former Clermont team-mate Kini Murimurivalu, and Fiji captain Deacon Manu said they would undoubtedly play to their strengths against the Springboks.

"One of our strengths as the flying Fijians is to keep the ball in hand and play some rugby really," Manu told reporters.

"We're not going to change that no matter the opposition or size of them. We have to make sure that we stand up and match them tactically and physically if we're going to match them on the scoreboard."

The fact that bonus points are available for the first time at the World Cup for scoring four tries or finishing within seven points added further incentive to stick to their natural game, Manu added.

"It's a tough pool," he said of Pool D which also includes Wales, Samoa and Namibia. "It will come down to the bonus points, those little edges.

"Every minute is going to be important and bonus points will be really relevant for this pool and I guess even the points differential may come into consideration."


South Africa:

15 Pat Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie Du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Danie Rossouw 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie Du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp

Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis 17 Tendai Mtawarira 18 Johann Muller 19 Willem Alberts 20 Fancois Hougaard 21 Ruan Pienaar 22 Juan de Jongh


15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Gaby Lovobalavu, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Waisea Sedre Luveniyali, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Maiwiriwiri Waqaniburotu, 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Deacon Manu (captain), 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu

Substitutes: 16 Telemaitoga Dautu Tuapati, 17 Waisea Nailago, 18 Netani Edward Talei, 19 Sisa Koyamaibole, 20 Vitori Tomu Buatava, 21 Nicky Little, 22 Gaby Lovobalavu


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