Saturday, June 12, 2010

RUGBY TEST: Pacific Nations Opener

Fiji v Japan in Lautoka

Venue: Churchill Park

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Japan started its 2010 campaign in grand style sweeping all Asian challengers before them. John Kirwan has got this side playing well and lasting 80 minutes of rugby, something they have failed to do against stronger opposition. So how will they do against stronger teams?

Fiji has problems. Firstly, they cannot get all their best players in from their European and Japanese clubs. This is usual for this union. Secondly two players are out due to suspensions following their 3-49 loss to Australia last weekend. 'Centre Saula Radidi was handed a two-match ban after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Giteau early in the second half, while full-back Taniela Rawaqa was suspended for one game after being cited for a dangerous tackle/shoulder charge, also on Giteau, this time in the first half'.

The Fijians have made nine changes to the lineup that was outclassed by Australia last weekend, including a new captain in Waqaniburotu.

John Kirwan took his Japanese side to New Zealand to prepare for this game. A Japan XV went down 19-23 to North Harbour at Albany Stadium. Down 0-16 at one stage the Japanese fought back and nearly stole the game in the dying moments. It was a good work out, especially for their defensive structure, a situation not tested by the Asian Teams in this years Asia5Nations competition.

Last Five Encounters
03.07.2009 Fiji 40-39 in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
22.06.2008 Fiji 24-12 in Tokyo (Pacific Nations Cup)
12.09.2007 Fiji 35-31 in Toulouse (World Cup, Pool B)
24.05.2007 Fiji 30-15 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
01.07.2006 Fiji 29-15 in Osaka (Pacific Five Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Fiji 10th, Japan 13th
IRB Rankings-Fiji 10th (75.90), Japan 13th (70.59)

Prediction: Japan to turn the tide, an win by 5 points.



15 Jaoji Dakuvula, 14 Timoci Naqusa, 13 Ropate Ratu, 12 Sireli Naqelevuki, 11 Nemani Nasiganiyavi, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Kelepi Ketedromo, 7 Jimilai Naikadawa, 6 Rupeni Nasiga, 5 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Capt., 4 Seko Qaraniqio, 3 Alefoso Yalayalatabua, 2 Vili Veikoso, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Graham Dewes, 18 Anthony Wise, 19 Samu Bola, 20 Emosi Vucago, 21 Naipolioni Nalaga, 22 Iliesa Keresoni.
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni


15 Kaoru Matsushita, 14 Alisi Tupuailei, 13 Koji Taira, 12 Ryan Nicholas, 11 Kosuke Endo, 10 Shaun Webb, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani (c), 7 Touetsu Taufa, 6 Micheal Leitch, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinsuke Nakamura, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Hisateru Hirashima.
Replacements: 16 Hiroki Yuhara, 17 Naoki Kawamata, 18 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 19 Ryukoliniasi Holani, 20 Koji Wada, 21 James Arlidge, 22 Hirotoki Onozawa.
Head Coach: John Kirwan

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