Fijiana out to pluck English roses

Members of the Fijiana 15s team in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: FIJI RUGBY

The Fijiana 15s team is planning to shock the world in its first Rugby World Cup appearance in New Zealand next Saturday.

Front-rowers Vika Matarugu and Bulou Vasuturaga believe the south seas islanders can pluck the English roses in their first pool match at the iconic Eden Park in Auckland after the official opening.

They have 10 days to plan the assault well.

“We are preparing well against England and we believe we can beat them,” Matarugu, 28, said.

She is the first professional rugby player to have come out of her village at Nukusa in Macuata, Vanua Levu.

Policewoman Bulou Vasuturaga, 30, echoed the sentiment saying strong typical Fijian style of rugby could topple their pool opponents England, South Africa and France.

“We will be able to give other teams a good shot in the Rugby World Cup,” the mother of three said.

She wants to play outstandingly to inspire her children who would be watching all Fiji’s games at home in Fiji.

She is among the emerging players of the pack who got the nod of head coach Senirusi Seruvakula after the Oceania Championship and the recent Tests against New Zealand Wahine Maori and Canada in Suva.

“It is a dream come true as I want to be a role model to my kids.”

Meanwhile, the side stepped up training in Auckland yesterday. The New Zealand MetSerivice yesterday reported the country forecasts changeable spring weather in the next few days predicting colder air amidst rains and heading towards a rainy weekend. But assistant coach Mosese Rauluni said training since Monday should prepare the players well ahead of the first match against England who are used to the cold.

“There are areas that we need to better in our D (defence),” Rauluni said. “We’ve got to get better because England is a different team. We’ve got a lot of time, so we’ll fix up the areas where we failed.”

Fiji will take on England at the iconic Eden Park next week Saturday before meeting South Africa on October 16 and France, in their last Pool C match on October 22.

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