FIJ team announcement (v GEO): head coach Raiwalui, captain Nayacalevu, Radradra, Cirikidaveta, Tagitagivalu

FIJ team announcement (v GEO): head coach Raiwalui, captain Nayacalevu, Radradra, Cirikidaveta, Tagitagivalu

Simon Raiwalui, head coach

On changes made to the team:

"There's a couple of changes there, obviously Jiuta Wainiqolo had an issue with his ankle and is still recovering from that and Mesake Doge had a HIA [head injury assessment] and Samu Tawake came in for him, so they were the two changes. We've gone for consistency with our selections. Jiuta's ankle is still a bit sore, he needs a bit more time and Mesake came out of his HIA protocol yesterday so he's back available for selection."

On Georgia:

"It's going to be a physical game, we know them quite well, we've played them quite often. They are a very proud team, they will come out and be very physical. Set piece will be a big challenge as well.

"They're a very good team. They're fit, they've obviously prepared well. They're a very physical team, they love to play with that physicality, something that we like to do as well. We're at similar stages of our development, we're looking to get further, move up further with bigger matches outside the World Cup. We have the utmost respect for Georgia and what they're doing and we understand it's going to be a very tough match."

On the support Fiji has from French people:

"We definitely feel the support, you can hear it at the stadiums and we're very appreciative. I think we have a real connection with France, Waisea is (based) here, I played here and lived in France for 11 years. So we have a connection with France and the French people and I think with their influence within the Top 14 and Pro D2 there's a connection there. I think it's got to do with how the boys play, the spirit that they play in, and we definitely feel the support and appreciate it."

On the idea that Fiji has already played it's 'toughest' matches against Wales and Australia:

"We don't listen to what other people think about the matches. We take one match at a time and we respect each team that we play. There's no harder or easier games and Georgia is a very tough team. We've had that mindset since we started, just taking one task at a time."

On Fiji's extended break between the Australia and Georgia matches: 

"I think the break came at a good time, the boys are a little bit tired and it's good to mentally refresh. We gave the boys a couple of days off last week just so they could freshen up and not have to think and train every day/ "e freshened them up last week.

"The great thing about this team is when we work, we work, and we had a good training session today. We've prepared well this week, we've gone into this week understanding what the challenge is and we've prepared for that and we're looking forward to the match."

On how Fiji has changed since last playing Georgia in 2021:

"That was a difficult period, obviously with COVID, staff couldn't travel and we had to bring groups in. I think both teams are more settled now. Both teams have developed and got better. It should be a really good match I think, it's two teams that are physical, we saw last week when Georgia played Portugal they love to play with the ball so it's going to be a tough challenge."

Waisea Nayacalevu, captain

On the support of French fans:

"France is special, it's a special place and I'm happy to be here and play the Rugby World Cup here in France with great support from the people."

Semi Radradra, wing

On the match against Georgia:

"I think we all know Georgia are a tough team, we know what they can bring physically, especially on the front foot. So our aim is to weather the storm, to match their physicality as well. We know it's going to be hard, we have to stick to our structure and hopefully we can wear them down."

On playing at number 11:

"Yes (it feels good), it's not much different, you just have a lot of space on the outside. I was very fortunate last week to have a crack on the wing, and this week as well. I think they are big shoes to fill."

On the French support:

"I think everyone is supporting Fiji as their second team. Every time on the field we can tell from the crowd, the way they back us. It really gives us a boost, especially (because) we are far away from home (so) to see these kinds of supporters here, we are very fortunate that the fans love Fiji."

Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, lock

On how the Drua playing in Super Rugby has helped the national team:

"I think it's good for us boys to be included in the Flying Fijians, it's a big step up. I think us coming from the Duras has boosted everyone's confidence in that we know we can push more."

Lekima Tagitagivalu, flanker

On Georgia:

"They are very physical team, very tough. We need to match that physicality and play well like Fijian, and try to beat them on the outside. We'll focus on our game plan and we'll see what we'll give on Saturday."

On playing with Beka Gorgodze and other Georgians in France:

"He's a physical guy, he loves to steal balls, so one of our work (focus areas) this week is our ruck. Most of their players that are playing in France, from one to 15 they love to attack our ruck and that's what we've been working on all this week."

Latest News