Little change as Bai goes big

There will be no change in Fiji’s approach to the game, when they face South Africa in a World Cup quarter-final match in Marseille on Sunday, even though they will be without veteran Fijian playmaker Nicky Little.

Little, who was one of the star performers throughout the World Cup, was instrumental in Fiji’s shock 38-34 pool win over Wales last week – scoring 18 points.

However, he strained his knee ligaments late in that game and has been ruled out of the showdown with the Springboks at Stade Velodrome.

Veteran Fijian centre Seremaia Bai, who has put up his hand to fill the gap left at number 10, said the Pacific Islanders would follow the same game plan and play with the same intensity they have shown throughout the tournament.

Bai or 22-year-old Waisea Luveniyali, who played at fly-half in the pool match against Australia (a 12-55 defeat), will wear the Fijian number 10 jersey against the Boks.

The midfielder admits that Little’s absence is a huge loss to Fiji.

“We’ll really miss Nicky, he’s been playing so long for Fiji,” he said.

“We have to be organised as Nicky has been playing in that position over many years. He’s world class.”

However, Bai insisted the game plan would be unchanged.

“Nothing changes. We have to stick to the game plan,” said Bai, who will likely take over kicking duties, having successfully amassed 92 points in 25 Test matches for Fiji.

“At the moment South Africa are the form side of the competition – big forwards, fast backs.

“But now that we have reached our goal of making the quarter-finals we want to go higher. We will play our best and hopefully the outcome on Sunday will be good.

“The key for us will be the set piece. We had 39 per cent possession against Japan – and we won the game. We had 41 per cent against Canada -and we won the game.

“Against Wales we won 100 per cent of our line-outs and had 50 per cent possession, so if we can secure 50 or 60 or 70 per cent [possession] on Sunday we can beat them.”

 

365 Digital

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