Rauluni inspired by minnows

Fiji captain Mosese Rauluni insists his side are ready to “pull out a really big one” in Wednesday’s Rugby World Cup clash with Japan after being inspired by the performances of fellow minnows.

Argentina stunned France but Namibia, Canada, Portugal, Samoa and the United States all gave more established nations a tough time on the tournament’s opening weekend.

And Rauluni revealed those performances – particularly that of Pacific neighbours Samoa against South Africa – have helped lift his team ahead of their first taste of action.

“I think it’s an advantage that Japan played four days ago,” said the Saracens scrum-half.

“If we had started before everyone else it would have been a bit tougher – but watching all the smaller teams go well against the bigger teams has given our guys spirit.

“Seeing teams like Portugal and Namibia do really well has made our guys want to pull out a really big one against Japan.”

Japan have changed the entire starting XV following Saturday’s 91-3 defeat to Australia but the Fijians know exactly what to expect when the match kicks off in Toulouse.

Fiji beat Japan 30-15 earlier this year and recorded a convincing 41-13 win at the World Cup in Australia four years ago.

“We know Japan didn’t put their strongest team out against Australia because they are aiming at us so it will be a very tough battle,” said Rauluni.

“They will aim for our forwards as history says our forwards and set piece hasn’t been the strongest but hopefully we can do it well after all our training. I think the match is going to be very fast and very hectic.

“We have to get on top of Japan in the set piece. We have to control our own set piece and control our own ball and keep them away from the ball because we know they can run it through.”

Fiji’s starting team includes nine players making their World Cup debuts and three from the Guinness Premiership.

Saracens provide Rauluni, fly-half Nicky Little and Kameli Ratuvou, who starts at full-back ahead of Norman Ligairi, while Akapusi Qera has signed for Gloucester.

365 Digital

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