26 Nov 2016

Sport: Flying Fijians to muscle up against Japan

8:30 am on 26 November 2016

The Flying Fijians intend to muscle up in an attempt to overpower Japan in their Northern Tour finale tomorrow morning.

Fiji have found it tough going with heavy defeats against the Barbarians and England over the past fortnight.

Nikola Matawalu and Ben Volavola have been recalled to start in the halves in Vannes, with Levani Botia to offer some added bulk in midfield and Kini Murimurivalu back at fullback.

In the forwards, Peni Ravai starts up front and Nemia Soqeta comes into the second row.

The Flying Fijians in Vannes, France.

The Flying Fijians in Vannes, France. Photo: Fiji Rugby Union

Fiji coach John McKee said the team was better than what they showed at Twickenham.

"Our defensive effort wasn't what it needed to be and England really exploited some deficiencies there so this week we've focused quite a bit on our defence but also effectively exiting our own end - a few times against England our clearance kicks were poor, which enabled England to keep the pressure on."

"Even though the score line wasn't favourable to us last week our attack was quite good last week," he said.

Japan have been inconsistent during November: losing heavily to Argentina and narrowly beating Georgia.

McKee though was impressed by their performance in Cardiff, where a last minute drop-goal denied them a share of the spoils against Wales.

"They're a very skilled side, they're really trying to play an up-tempo game (with) a lot of ball movement. They'll try to keep the ball moving and try to run us a little bit ragged."

"We've got to use a mixture of our power. We've got big players: (Nemani) Nadolo, Levani Botia comes back to the side, we've got Waisea Nayacalevu...our real opportunity is on the fringes so we want to attack directly to breach the gain-line and then to play wide." Mckee said.

The winner of tomorrow's clash in North-Western France will end the year in the top ten of the world rankings.

Fiji squad:

Peni Ravai

Sunia Koto

Manasa Saulo

Nemia Soqeta

Leone Nakarawa

Dominiko Waqaniburotu

Peceli Yato

Akapusi Qera (C)

Nikola Matawalu

Ben Volavola

Nemani Nadolo

Levani Botia

Albert Vulivuli

Metuisela Talebula

Kini Murimurivalu

Tuapati Talemaitoga

Joeli Veitayaki

Leeroy Atalifo

Apisalome Ratuniyarawa

Naulia Dawai

Eremasi Radrodro

Serupepeli Vularika

Waisea Nayacalevu