Tabua wants the ‘perfect’ shock

Fijian coach Ilie Tabua claims his side are chasing “the perfect game” to pull off another World Cup shock and beat South Africa in Sunday’s quarter-final in Marseille.

Fiji reached the last eight for the first time since 1987 with a dramatic 38-34 victory over Wales last weekend, which has gone down as the greatest in their history.

The win came at a cost, with fly-half Nicky Little ruled out of the tournament after damaging knee ligaments in the closing stages.

Clermont Auvergne’s Seremaia Bai has switched from inside centre to replace Little at fly-half, prompting a back-line reshuffle with Saracens’ Kameli Ratuvou moving into midfield.

The experienced duo of fullback Norman Liguiri and winger Sereli Bobo both come into the team for Sunday’s Marseille showdown.

Tabua admitted it has been hard to get his players’ minds refocused on facing South Africa after such a huge victory last weekend.

“After a win like that it would be easy for the players to think ‘this is done’. It can be hard to get the focus back,” he said.

“But we have told the players we need to perform better than last week. We are aiming to play the perfect game.

“If you can play the perfect game then the processes are looked after and the result will come your way.”

Fiji were able to lure Wales into playing an expansive style of rugby and were able to punish them with a famous victory.

South Africa’s strength lies at the set-piece, so Fiji will be working hard to keep play alive and avoid getting dragged into a forward-based arm-wrestle.

Captain Moses Rauluni said: “The Wales game has given us confidence but we still have to work on the scrum when we take on the big boys.

“South Africa are a great force and have good depth. Our forwards are ready to give them a go but we have to be smart with the ball.

“We will only kick the ball out if we have to. We don’t want to give them line-out opportunities.

“Whatever ball we get we have to keep. We set a goal to get to the quarter-finals and now we want to get to the semis. Whatever we have to do, we will do to win this game.

“It could be a good day for kickers to put pressure on the full-backs.”

 

365 Digital

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