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Sam Matavesi and Temo Mayanavanua will represent Fiji
Northampton Saints ©
Sam Matavesi and Temo Mayanavanua will represent Fiji
Northampton Saints ©

Matavesi and Mayanavanua selected for Fiji against Australia

Northampton Saints pair Sam Matavesi and Temo Mayanavanua have both been selected in Fiji’s matchday 23 for their crucial Rugby World Cup match against Australia.

Hooker Matavesi, 31, starts the Saint-Étienne showdown on Sunday evening (kick-off 4:45pm BST) to earn his 28th international cap, having played 67 minutes of Fiji’s dramatic opening round loss to Wales.

Mayanavanua – who joins Saints after the tournament from Lyon –  arrived with 11 minutes remaining in the 32-26 defeat to the Welsh and once more takes his place among the replacements.

Simon Raiwalui’s side need to pull off a victory to keep their hopes alive of reaching the knock-out stages for the first time since 2007, with the Wallabies starting their campaign with a win over Georgia – who are Fiji's penultimate Pool C opponents on 30 October before they face Portugal in the last round of group stage action on 8 October.

Raiwalui, the Fiji head coach, said:  (Australia) have been playing very well, they've got a young, dynamic team, very aggressive on the gain-line with their carries, their cleans, a lot of strike weapons across the field, so we don't take much from what their (warm-up) results are.

 I think Eddie (Jones, Australia head coach) will have them firing for the match and we're looking forward to a great occasion, two teams who like to play rugby, play with ball carriers and strike weapons so it should be a good match.

Reflecting on the agonising Wales loss last weekend, he added: Obviously it was a pretty physical game against a good Welsh team. The next day the boys were a bit sore. They recovered well, and mentally we were thinking that we're onto the next task.

The World Cup tends to turn around quickly in one week so we couldn't dwell on the last match too long. We did our review and got out of it what we need to do better against the Wallabies. Obviously it’s a big challenge for us against a really good team.

 I think the game against Wales we carried very well, we had a lot of possession but we turned over the ball quite a lot, I think 17 times, so we worked on that, securing the ball and taking our chances where we have them.

Rugby World Cup, Pool C
Sunday 17 September 2023
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
Kick-off: 4:45pm (BST)

15 Ilaisa Droasese
14 Jiuta Wainiqolo
13 Waisea Nayacalevu (c)
12 Josua Tuisova
11 Semi Radradra
10 Teti Tela
9 Simione Kuruvoli

1 Eroni Mawi
2 Sam Matavesi (Northampton Saints)
3 Luke Tagi
4 Isoa Nasilasila
5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta
6 Lekima Tagitagivalu
7 Levani Botia
8 Viliame Mata

16 Tevita Ikanivere
17 Peni Ravai
18 Mesake Doge
19 Temo Mayanavanua (Northampton Saints)
20 Albert Tuisue
21 Frank Lomani
22 Vilimoni Botitu
23 Vinaya Habosi

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