Fiji shuffle and name Talei captain for Wales

Fiji have retained five players from the loss to Samoa and handed the captaincy to No. 8 Netani Talei for the World Cup match against Wales in Hamilton on Sunday.

Regular skipper Deacon Manu was rested and left out of the match-day 22. Talei, who played for Leinster, will be Fiji’s fourth captain this year.

“It’s always a privilege to be named as captain,” Talei said. “There are lots of senior players on the team, so it’s a real honor.

“I want to lead those younger players out on Sunday and set a good example to them. We’ll bring plenty of energy and enthusiasm.”

Only hooker Sunia Koto, lock Leone Nakarawa and Talei have keep their places in the forwards, while flyhalf Nicky Little and Gaby Lovobalavu, who has moved out a spot to center, were the only backs in the starting lineup which was beaten by Samoa 27-7 at Eden Park last weekend.

Michael Tagicakibau, who wasn’t picked to play his brother, Samoa winger Sailosi Tagicakibau, in Auckland, will make his World Cup debut on the left wing.

Fiji-based props Setefano Somoca and Waisea Nailago, flanker Rupeni Nasiga, scrumhalf Vitori Buatava, and three-quarters Albert Vulivuli and Ravai Fatiaki and fullback Iliesa Keresoni received their first starts in the Cup.

“The biggest word we have been focusing on during the week is energy,” coach Samu Domoni said. “We’ll bring plenty of that plus effort and desire. We want to really enjoy ourselves.”


Iliesa Keresoni, Albert Vulivuli, Ravai Fatiaki, Gaby Lovobalavu, Michael Tagicakibau, Nicky Little, Vitori Buatava; Netani Talei (captain), Sakiusa Matadigo, Rupeni Nasiga, Wame Lewaravu, Leone Nakarawa, Setefano Somoca, Sunia Koto, Waisea Nailago.

Reserves: Viliame Veikoso, Campese Ma’afu, Mala Ravulo, Akapusi Qera, Nemia Kenatale, Seremaia Bai, Vereniki Goneva.

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