Fiji want a repeat of 2007 Rugby World Cup

Akapusi Qera on the attack for Fiji against Australia

Fiji have said that on Thursday this week they want a repeat of the 2007 Rugby World Cup when they knocked Wales out in the Pool stage.

Pacific Islands Nation Fiji have everything to play for in their final two matches as if they can finish in third place they will qualify for the 2019 World cup in Japan.

Fiji have a record against Wales in the world cup and have had almost a week to prepare while Wales will have a short turnaround having played England in a brutal match on Saturday evening.

Akapusi Qera says that he can still remember playing in the match against Wales and is fired up to do it again.

It will be a big day for the Fiji skipper and Montpellier flanker who will become only the third Fijian to play 50 Tests.

But any celebrations will be muted if Fiji don’t achieve their aim of pulling off another historic win to keep alive their chances of automatic qualification for the next World Cup.

They came into this tournament confident of at least one upset and opening losses to England and Australia leaves Wales at Millennium stadium on Thursday as the remaining target with only minnows Uruguay to play after that.

“There’s still a lot for us to play for,” coach John McKee emphasised.

“Though the quarter-finals are beyond us, third place in the pool is still a very important position as it automatically qualifies you for the next World Cup.”

Qera, who scored a try in the classic match eight years ago, said the memory drives him on.

“The 2007 win is history for me and stays in the back of my mind,” he said Tuesday, while playing down the 66-0 hiding they took from Wales four years later.

“We know Wales have a changed team from the past two World Cups and they are ranked number two in the world. We need to play the best we can.”

Injuries and indiscretions have forced Fiji to make six changes, notably covering star wing Nemani Nadolo who is suspended, Waisea Nayacalevu who is out of the tournament injured and scrum-half Nikola Matawalu who was not available because of a back injury.

“But I know the other boys have an opportunity and they’ll grab it with both hands,” Qesa said, adding Fiji had been inspired by the way Wales have overcome setbacks and needed to make three injury-forced replacements for the match.

Narbonne hooker Sunia Koto believes Fiji can take Wales on up front which will benefit Timoci Nagusa, who comes into the side as a try-scoring specialist wing replacement for Nayacalevu.

“They have a very experienced and heavy pack and looking at their last outing against England they have so much firepower, but we have seen some places where we may be able to cause a bit of a problem for them,” said Koto.

“If we can dominate up front we can give quality ball to our brilliant backline and make it easier to win.”

The last time Fiji played Wales, with largely the same line ups, they were narrowly beaten 17-13 at Millennium Stadium last November and Koto said that match could have gone either way.

“We missed a few penalties in that game and we’re excited about Thursday because they have a similar team to then and anything is possible in a World Cup.”

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