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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Fiji RWC team guide
A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Fiji for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Fixtures (Pool B):

  • v Japan - 12 September, 1700 BST, Toulouse
  • v Canada - 16 September, 1300 BST, Cardiff
  • v Australia - 23 September, 1330 BST, Montpellier
  • v Wales - 29 September, 1600 BST, Nantes

    Recent form: Recovered from a narrow loss in Samoa to beat World Cup opponents Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup, but a home defeat by Tonga did nothing for confidence after a 49-0 thumping by Australia, also in their pool, the week before.

    Coach: Ilivasi Tabua won 10 caps as a flanker for Australia, played at the 1995 World Cup and then switched to his native Fiji four years later. He is the first Fijian to coach the national side after replacing Wayne Pivac, who resigned in January.

    Captain: Tabua left Alivereti Doviverata, his original choice of captain, out of his final squad and also dallied with scrum-half Mosese Raulini before opting for experienced lock Kele Leawere, 33, who plys his trade with Hino Motors in Japan.

    World Cup pedigree: Squeezed into the quarter-finals in 1987 and the play-off round in 1999, but didn't make it past the pool stages in 1991 or 2003, and didn't qualify in 1995.

    World Cup high: Beat Argentina in their first ever World Cup match in 1987 before a narrow defeat to Italy sent them into the quarters on points difference. But played their best rugby in narrow defeats to higher-ranked nations.

    World Cup low: Lost all three matches in 1991, including to Canada and Romania. Fuming after some dubious refereeing against France in 1999, and came within a minute of putting Scotland out four years ago before Tom Smith's last-ditch try.

    World Cup legend: Waisale Serevi played at the 1991, 1999 and 2003 World Cups but is better known for Sevens. By contrast, two games, and three sensational tries - either side of a two-match ban for fighting - were enough for Rupeni Caucaunibuca to leave his mark on World Cup history in 2003.

    Present star: In Caucau's absence, another flamboyant runner, Seru Rabeni, is likely to take centre stage. The dreadlocked Leicester flyer may not have Caucau's awesome pace, but his physique and side-step make him a real handful.

    Maverick: The real maverick, "Caucau", has quite literally, gone to pot, serving a three-month ban for smoking cannabis. This follows a year-long ban in 2005 for failing to show up for World Cup qualifiers, and then missing his club Agen's pre-season camp with a tropical virus. Never less than interesting.

    Enforcer: Loose forward Sisa Koyamaibole plays his rugby with New Zealand province Taranaki, no-one's idea of a paradise for visiting forwards. A natural athlete, he has also represented Fiji at judo, so turnovers are a speciality.

    Strengths: Athletic, ball-playing forwards and a trio of Saracens backs - the experienced Mosese Raulini, appearing at this third World Cup, and Nicky Little, Fiji's record points scorer, plus lightning wing Kameli Ratuvou - offer hope.

    Weaknesses: Penchant for the flamboyant sometimes comes at the expense of doing the dirty work up front. A chaotic build-up could also compound a fragile temperament.

    Did you know? Coach Ilivasi Tabua was nicknamed the "Human Skewer" in his playing days.

    World Cup base: Moissac (from 3 September)

    They say: "We can beat Wales as we have the size up front and our forwards have a good height advantage. If we can dominate possession, I'm confident we can upset Wales and can also match the Wallabies."
    Greg Mumm, forwards coach

    You say: "Fiji, Wales and Canada to scrap over the second place, and then to lose the quarter-final comfortably."
    mikeyphil on 606

    World ranking: 12

    Odds: 500/1

    Our verdict: Could make the quarter-finals, could finish bottom of the pool. After the turmoil of their build-up, anything is possible. May well beat either Japan or Canada, or both, but a last eight spot seems unlikely.

    Ranking and odds correct at 26 August. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • SEE ALSO
    Fiji star Caucaunibuca out of Cup
    21 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
    Rugby union positions guide
    05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment
    Country profile: Fiji
    31 May 07 |  Country profiles


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