Fiji v France in Nantes
Venue: Stade de la Beaujoire
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Rain, rain and more rain. Such a pity that the clouds have opened up over France. This test match is expected to be played in wet and heavy conditions.
France has named an experimental side to play Fiji. The French team has moved through a number of combinations. The French coach has taken the opportunity to blood some new players mixed in with experienced ones. Injuries have also contributed to the mix. Only No.8 and captain Harinordoquy remains from the French side that defeated England and the Grand Slam back in March. Since then France has had a horror run (as the French can do) which has included a huge loss to Argentina in June.
Fiji has happy memories of Nantes. Remember their win against Wales in 2007 Rugby World Cup Finals? Now the weather will be awful but watch out for these Fijians. They have largely been able to call upon their top players who play in Europe, so this team will be similar to the one that will go to the World Cup next year. They have had little time to train together. They will rely on their natural skills and the inexperience of the French side to hope for a victory. Probably not.
Last Five Encounters
11.10.2003 France 61-18 in Brisbane (World Cup, Pool B)
24.11.2001 France 77-10 in St Eteinne
16.10.1999 France 28-19 in Toulouse (World Cup, Pool C)
27.06.1998 France 34-9 in Suva
08.10.1991 France 33-9 in Grenoble (World Cup)
France has faced Fiji in four World Cup tournaments. They won 31-16 in Auckland in 1987. Fiji has never defeated France.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 5th, Fiji 12th
France 82.75 (4th), 74.39 (10th)
Prediction: France by 9 points
15 Jerome Porical, 14 Julien Arias, 13 David Marty, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Damien Traille, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, Capt. 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Jerome Thion, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Jerome Schuster
16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Sebastien Chabal, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 David Skrela, 22 Alexis Palisson, 23 Nicolas Mas.
Head Coach: Marc Lièvremont
15 Norman Ligairi, 14 Sereli Nakelevuqi, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Seru Rabeni, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Seremaia Baï, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Semisi Naevo, 5 Jone Qovu, 4 Wame Lewaravu, 3 Deacon Manu, Capt. 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Graham Dewes
16 Setefano Somoca, 17 Viliame Veikoso, 18 Sekonaia Kalou, 19 Malakai Ravulo, 20 Seveci Taka, 21 Josh Matavesi, 22 Gabriele Lovobalavu
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni