Friday, July 22, 2011

TEST RUGBY: New Zealand Warms Up Against Fiji

Fiji v New Zealand in Dunedin

Venue: Carisbrook

Referee: Stuart Dickinson, Australia

This warm up rugby test match for New Zealand also doubles as a charity match for Christchurch earthquake victims.

Talk about is on the possibility of Fiji repeating Samoa’s feat of defeating a top nation at test rugby. Fiji’s record against New Zealand is 5 losses from 5, with 50 points being the narrowest margin.

Not all has gone well in Fiji’s preparations. “With Nicky Little injured and Waisea Luveniyali suspended it means Seremaia Baikeinuku mans the flyhalf spot with the recalled Taniela Rawaqa as cover on the bench.
One late change to the side sees veteran lock forward Ifereimi Rawaqa pulling out due to sickness and replaced by Nadroga’s feisty loose-cum-lock forward Rupeni Nasiga”.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has rested all Crusader players for this match, giving some bench players the opportunity to add themselves on the consideration list for New Zealand’s final 30 for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The side still looks strong enough to hold Fijian early pressure and allow their superior fitness and organisation to win the game in the second half.

Previous Encounters
10.06.2005 New Zealand 91-0 in Albany
29.06.2002 New Zealand 68-18 in Wellington
14.06.1997 New Zealand 71-5 in Albany
27.05.1987 New Zealand 74-13 in Christchurch (World Cup)

Surprisingly few test matches between these two Pacific nations in the past although many NZ Maori and Under 23/Junior sides have faced Fiji. Fiji has come unstuck against New Zealand in all their previous encounters.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 6th, Fiji 14th
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Fiji 4th

IRB Rugby Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.19, Fiji 71.52

Prediction: New Zealand by 24 points



New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 James Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Benjamin Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Daniel Carter, 22 Benjamin Smith.
Head Coach: Graham Henry


15 Iliesa Keresoni, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Seremaia Baikeinuku, 9 Nemia Serelevu, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Rupeni Nasiga, 4 Sekonaia Kalou, 3 Deacon Manu, Capt. 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Setefano Somoca, 18 Josefa Domolailai, 19 Malakai Ravulo, 20 Vitori Buatava, 21 Taniela Rawaqa, 22 Vereniki Goneva.
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni

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