9 Jun 2017

Sport: Fiji name three debutants to face Wallabies

10:02 am on 9 June 2017

Fiji have named three debutants in their side for tomorrow's one-off rugby test against Australia in Melbourne.

French-based Pau midfielder Jale Vatubua start at second five, while Edinburgh's Olympic sevens gold medallist Viliame Mata and locally-based Kalivati Tawake have been included on the bench.

Pau centre Jale Vatubua (c) will make his Fiji test debut against Australia.

Pau centre Jale Vatubua (c) will make his Fiji test debut against Australia. Photo: AFP

Head coach John McKee says Australia will be a big challenge and it's an opportunity for players to make their mark against one of the top teams in world rugby.

"I have been able to select a very strong and experienced team to take on the Wallabies in Melbourne on Saturday," he said.

"My congratulations go to all the players and especially the three new caps, Jale Vatubua, Viliame Mata and Kalivati Tawake.

Fiji's Viliame Mata (2nd left) and Apisai Domolailai (L) celebrate Olympic gold.

Fiji's Viliame Mata (2nd left) and Apisai Domolailai (L) celebrate Olympic gold. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"...With this challenge comes opportunity for players to make their mark with their performance for Fiji and for all of our supporters at home and overseas.

"This challenge presents a great opportunity for Fiji to make their mark in world rugby with a top class performance against the number three nation in the world."

"If we can be our best, individually and as a team, in this match I believe we can push Australia all the way".

Meanwhile Waratahs flanker Ned Hanigan and Queensland Reds utility Karmichael Hunt will make their test debut at flanker and second-five eighth for the Wallabies.

Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt Photo: PHOTO NZ

There's a strong Pacific flavour to the Australian side, with Suva born Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani named to start on the wing and at centre.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, lock Adam Coleman and fullback Israel Folau are of Tongan descent, prop Allan Alaalatoa and Karmichael Hunt have Samoan heritage while halfback Will Genia was born in Papua New Guinea.

Flying Fijians team:

Campese Maáfu, Sunia Koto, Peni Ravai, Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Naulia Dawai, Akapusi Qera ©, Nikola Matawalu, Ben Volavola, Vereniki Goneva, Jale Vatubua, Albert Vulivuli, Timoci Nagusa, Kini Murimurivalu, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Joeli Veitayaki, Kalivati Tawake, Api Ratuniyarawa, Viliame Mata, Nemani Nagusa, Seurpepeli Vularika, Benito Masilevu

Wallabies team:

Tom Robertson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Allan Alaalatoa, Sam Carter, Adam Coleman, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Henry Speight, Karmichael Hunt, Tevita Kuridrani, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau