Fiji head coach John McKee has named a strong side to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Saturday’s sold-out GUINNESS Series Test (kick-off 5.30pm).
It will be Fiji’s first visit to the Aviva Stadium – they played twice previously at the old Lansdowne Road in 1995 and 2002, and also at the RDS in 2009 – and only the fourth time that the nations have met at Test level.
Looking forward to Saturday’s clash, John McKee said: “I expect a very strong challenge on Saturday from the Irish team here in Dublin. The flying Fijians will need to take a step up in the level of performance displayed during the Italy match last week.”
Head coach McKee has made four personnel changes to the team that lost 19-10 to Italy in Catania. Captain Akapusi Qera leads the pack from openside flanker, combining with Nemani Nagusa and the incoming Dominiko Waqaniburotu in an all France-based back row.
Racing 92’s Leone Nakarawa, the scorer of Fiji’s only try against Italy, features in an unchanged tight five, packing down alongside Api Ratuniyarawa and behind a front row made up of London Irish’s Manasa Saulo, hooker Tuapati Talemaitoga and Northampton Saints loosehead Campese Ma’afau.
Montpellier’s Timoci Nagusa and Nemani Nadolo will line out on opposite wings, with the latter, who tips the scales at nearly 20 stone, looking to follow up on the two tries he scored against Leinster in the Champions Cup last month.
Nadolo, La Rochelle centre Levani Botia and scrum half Henry Seniloli are the three changes to the Fijian back-line, replacing Josua Tuisova, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Frank Lomani respectively. Seniloli will team up at half-back with Ben Volavola, who recently signed as a medical joker for Bordeaux-Begles.
FIJI Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2017 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 18, kick-off 5.30pm):
15. Kini Murimurivalu (La Rochelle) 19
14. Timoci Nagusa (Montpellier) 29
13. Jale Vatubua (Pau) 6
12. Levani Botia (La Rochelle) 9
11. Nemani Nadolo (Montpellier) 26
10. Ben Volavola (Bordeaux-Begles) 20
9. Henry Seniloli (Timisoara Saracens) 17
1. Campese Ma’afu (Northampton Saints) 48
2. Tuapati Talemaitoga (Southland) 39
3. Manasa Saulo (London Irish) 34
4. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa (Northampton Saints) 27
5. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92) 45
6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (Brive) 35
7. Akapusi Qera (Agen) (capt) 60
8. Nemani Nagusa (Aurillac) 11
16. Sunia Koto (Macon) 57
17. Peni Ravai (Bordeaux-Begles) 23
18. Kalivati Tawake (Fijian Drua) 5
19. Sikeli Nabou (Biarritz Olympique) 2
20. Peceli Yato (Clermont Auvergne) 9/Semi Kunatani (Toulouse) 1
21. Niko Matawalu (Glasgow Warriors) 32
22. Asaeli Tikoirotuma (London Irish) 22
23. Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 47