Crusaders giant to face England

2015-09-16 23:30
John McKee (Gallo)

London - Fiji at their best can cause Rugby World Cup hosts England a lot of problems in the showpiece opener at Twickenham, coach John McKee said on Wednesday.

McKee has already guided Fiji to the Pacific Nations Cup but he knows that his fast and agile team will have to up their game to have a hope in the Pool A clash.

A Fiji win would spring an even greater surprise than when Argentina beat hosts France in the opening game of the 2007 World Cup.

England are heavy odds on favourites to win the game while leading English bookmakers William Hill are offering 16/1 for a Fiji victory.

"We know we'll have to be at our best to get the result we want on Friday night. If we're at our best we know we can challenge them," said McKee.

"We know that to be successful on Friday we will have to play for the full 80. International rugby is an 80-minute game," the New Zealander added.

"The core of our team has been together since June last year. We've been building towards this tournament all the time.

"Our preparation and form have been good but we know this is quite a step-up from the Pacific Nations Cup, so we need to play our game at a higher intensity."

McKee's side has two players - centre Vereniki Goneva and captain and flank Akapusi Qera - who have had spells in England with Leicester and Gloucester respectively.

He has also selected the talented Crusaders star Nemani Nadolo on the wing where he provides electrifying pace and is also a superb placekicker. Nadolo is to join English side Bath after the World Cup.

McKee opted for Ben Volavola at flyhalf and he will be partnered by scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu, who has recovered from a groin injury he suffered in the warm-up victory over Canada.

Qera, who plays for French Top 14 side Montpellier, said whilst he and some of his team-mates had good friends in their Pool A opponents camp that would count for nothing on Friday.

"We have best mates in the England team but as soon as we cross the white line that's where the friendships end. We'll then be friends again after the game on Friday," said 31-year-old Qera.





15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Sakiusa Masi Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera (captain), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu

Substitutes: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Peni Ravai, 18  Isei Colati, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Peceli Yato, 21 Nemia Kenatale, 22 Joshua Matavesi, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma

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