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Wales v. Fiji


Wales are looking to record their first win in the year-end Test series when they host Fiji on Friday, having suffered heart-breaking defeats against the Wallabies and the Springboks in the last two weeks.

Timmy Hancox – Rugby365

The Pacific Islanders struggled against Six Nations Grand Slam champions France in their 34-12 loss, although cold and rainy weather conditions did the Fijian stars no favours.

Although they are far better known for their Sevens exploits, Fiji are more than capable of causing the occasional upset against the likes of Wales, as their did in the World Cup in France.

The size and speed of the Fijian backline means they will always be a threat on attack in an open sevens-style game, but Wales will be more than aware of that.

Fiji have been faced with an unfortunate setback in losing their star centre Seru Rabeni and lock Wame Lewaravu, after the pair were delayed in France with visa issues.

Wales took a great deal of heart from their staunch effort up front against Australia, and although the forwards were slightly less effective against the South African pack they have the ability to starve Fiji of possession.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has also backed young halfback pairing of Richie Rees and Dan Biggar to step up and grab their chance as they continue to put pressure on the incumbents in the No.9 and No.10 jerseys, Mike Phillips and Stephen Jones.

Gatland is experimenting in a few areas of his team resting the likes of Andy Powell, Alun Wyn Jones and Matthew Rees, as he looks to test the depth ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Wales will also have to make do without their favourite son Shane Williams, after the wing wizard was injured during last week’s Test against South Africa.

A win for Fiji would be devastating for Wales who are in dire need of a moral boosting victory following their recent disappointments leaving them with the all too common tag-line of ‘close but no cigar’.

Players to watch: For Wales the new name on everyone’s lips, George North, will hope to add to his tally of tries after an excellent start against South Africa and skipper Ryan Joneslook to silence his critics and prove he still have what it takes to be Wales’s captain. For Fiji their captain Deacon Manu has plenty to prove after being overlooked for selection by Wales a couple of years ago, when Gatland reportedly told him he was too old and not good enough to be an international prop.

Head to Head: The spotlight will be on Wales’ Richie Rees and Dan Biggar have a golden opportunity to show their class given the growing number of calls to see them as the first choice halfbacks. They face-off against Fiji’s Nemia Kenatale and Seremaia Bai who will be looking to release the potent backline full of strong runners.

Recent results:
Fiji won 38-34 at the World Cup in Nantes, France
2005: Wales won 11-10 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
2002: Wales won 58-14 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
1995: Wales won 19-15 at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
1994: Wales won 23-8 at National Stadium, Suva
1986: Wales won 22-15 at National Stadium, Suva
1985: Wales won 40-3 at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

rugby365.com Prediction: Fiji are always dangerous and can throw a spanner in the works with some great tries, but their unpredictability often lets them down and Wales have more than enough class and experience to grab the game by the scruff of the neck by dominating up front. Wales to walk away with it by 15 to 20 points.


Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 George North, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 James Hook, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Dan Lydiate/Martyn Williams, 6 Ryan Jones (captain), 5 Deiniol Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Paul James, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Adam Jones.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Toby Faletau, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Tom Shanklin.

Fiji: 15 Josh Matavesi, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Gabirieli Lovobalavu, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Seremaia Bai, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Semisi Saukawa, 5 Jone Qovu, 4 Ifereimi Rawaqa, 3 Deacon Manu (captain), 2 Vili Veikoso, 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Taupati, 17 Graham Dewes, 18 Seko Kalou, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Seveci Taka, 21 Ropate Ratu, 22 Taniela Rawaqa.

Date: Friday, November 19
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 19.30 (19.30 GMT)
Expected weather: There is still uncertainty whether the roof will be open or closed. If it is open the elements will have an affect. Mist and fog will slowly clear but persist all day with a maximum of 11°C and a minimum of 7°C with a few showers and light easterly winds.
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Rob Debney (England)
TMO: Daniel Gillet (France)

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  1. Wow… currently 52mins on and Fiji 13-6 up and decidedly BRUTAL on attack and defence… methinks they are going to be a real force again in the RWC particularly with huge crowd support…

  2. Wow and they come back through PK’s… and to think some got stiffie’s with the Boks narrow escape against this team…

    A win is a win, but we’ll see what the Kiwi’s do to this mob as a real gauge…

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