Rauluni: ‘Bring on the Boks’

Fijian captain Mosese Rauluni has issued a firm warning to South Africa ahead of their World Cup quarter-final showdown at Stade Velodrome, Marseille, on Sunday.

While most pundits expect the Pacific Islanders to be flat and struggling to rise to the occasion after their momentous (38-34) win over Wales at the weekend, the Fijians have other ideas.

Rauluni, speaking to the media on Monday, said they will exhibit the same fighting spirit they showed against the Welsh – which saw them come from behind to score the winning try in the 78th minute.

“It’s a big challenge,” he said of facing the Boks, adding that it will require another monumental 80-minute effort.

“Our boys did that against Wales and came up with the goods. Some other Fijian teams in the past probably would have lost that game. I’m so proud of the boys for the way they fought up until the 81st minute.”

Rauluni acknowledged that South Africa will be overwhelming favourites, but said they are determined to turn the form book on its head.

“Anything’s possible,” he said.

“Tonga showed it is possible when they took them to the wire, so the general feeling is why can’t we?

“We’ve said to the boys the job’s not over. We’ve got other things to strive for.

“We haven’t got to the quarter-finals for 20 years. We closely missed out on the last World Cup against Scotland, and the World Cup before that against France. I was involved in both of those, and to get to the quarter-finals, I’ve finally done it.”

Fiji coach Ilie Tabua issued what has become one of the World Cup tournaments most common refrains, saying it was vital that teams from the smaller rugby playing nations be given greater exposure to top-class competitions between World Cups.

“It [the win against Wales] shows that the Tier Two nations can compete, given there is more competition with the level one [teams], not only here at the World Cup,” Tabua, a former Wallaby loose forward, said.

He again campaigned for the introduction of a Pacific side into the Southern Hemisphere’s elite Super 14 competition.

“Super 14 would be good. Two-thirds of our players are actually playing here in Europe, and it doesn’t help us with our season. We need to develop other players that are in the islands and be accepted in one of those competitions.”

Like his captain Tabua admitted that beating the Boks will be a tall order, but he felt his team was up for another big challenge.

“The Springboks are always going to be tough,” Tabua said.

“I think any Tier One [team] is always going to be targeting us in the forwards. They did it to Samoa, they did it to Tonga and it’s obvious that they are going to control the game that way.”

 

365 Digital

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