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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK

Fiji target 'flashy' England

Walter Serevi and his Fiji team-mates are no respecters of reputation

Fiji have warned England they are in no mood to act as support players in the quarter-final play-off at Twickenham on Wednesday.

The home team are hot favourites to win the match and take their place in the last eight against South Africa.

But Fiji's coach Brad Johnstone believes his team of underdogs can exploit some over-confidence in the English ranks.

And he is inspiring his unfancied players to bloody the noses of their illustrious opponents - just as they so nearly did in the Pool C showdown with France last Satuday.

"This match is 15 guys with fast cars and laptops against 15 guys with only rugby boots," Johnstone said.

"If we play like we did for 50 minutes against France then we have the ability to cause a major upset."

Guscott blow

England coach Clive Woodward has been robbed of the services of veteran centre Jeremy Guscott, who is sidelined with a groin injury.

[ image: Jeremy Guscott: His participation in the World Cup is now in doubt]
Jeremy Guscott: His participation in the World Cup is now in doubt
But the coach made another six changes to his XV for the match, with a string of top players rested after three tiring group games.

His selection policy has prompted accusations that he is taking the Fijians too lightly and is already focusing on the prospect of facing the Springboks.

But Woodward insists his team are not ignoring the threat that the South Sea Islanders pose.

Indeed, having seen tham at first hand, he knows they offer a far sterner challenge than Tonga, who were despatched 101-10 by England in the last group game.

"I am glad that I went to watch them play France," Woodward admitted.

"Fiji are physically far stronger than Tonga, and also more streetwise.

"They were pretty unlucky to lose against France, and we will give them total respect. Fiji beat Canada the other day - they coped well with the Canadians - and are a well-coached team."

And just to hammer home the point, he added: "I'm not under-estimating Fiji at all."


England: Matt Perry; Nick Beal, Will Greenwood, Mike Catt, Dan Luger; Jonny Wilkinson, Austin Healey; Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back, Joe Worsley, Garath Archer, Martin Johnson (capt), Darren Garforth, Phil Greening, Jason Leonard

Replacements: Phil de Glanville, Paul Grayson, Matt Dawson, Richard Hill, Tim Rodber, Graham Rowntree, Richard Cockerill

Fiji: Alfred Uluinayau; Marika Vunibaka, Viliame Satala, Meli Nakauta or Waisake Sototu, Imanueli Tikomaimakogai; Waisale Serevi or Nicky Little, Jacob Rauluni; Ifereimi Tawake, Setereki Tawake, Kolinio Sewabu, Emori Katalau, Simon Raiwalui, Joeli Veitayaki, Greg Smith (capt), Daniel Rouse

Replacements: To be confirmed

Referee: Clayton Thomas (Wal)

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