Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

London has fallen: Fiji topple Tier one heavyweights England

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

New Zealand rugby fans may be reeling from the 35-7 dismantling of the All Blacks by the Springboks on Friday (UK Time) but that’s certainly not the case in Fiji.

That’s because the Flying Fijians created history 24-hours later by beating tier-one heavy-weights England 30-22 for the first time ever, in their own world cup warmup. 

And in an encouraging sign for Pacific Islands rugby, a brave Manu Samoa side just went down 17-13, to world cup favourites Ireland, in another tournament warmup.

It was an historic win for Fiji over England, as the Pacific Islanders silenced avid English fans at Twickenham Stadium. 

The visitors showed complete dominance throughout the whole fixture, exposing their opponents who had come off loss against Ireland, a week earlier.

“We don’t get to play too often at Twickenham,” Fijian coach Simon Raiwalui said, hailing the victory as all the more sweeter for showcasing some of the side’s less heralded qualities.

“People think of Fijian-style rugby as throwing it around, but it’s also about collisions, and being the best side we can be,” Raiwalui says.

Captain Waisea Nayacalevu. Photo: Planet Rugby.

Captain Waisea Nayacalevu echoed those thoughts, congratulating his teammates on the superb performance and result. 

“This group of boys compared to other ones we’ve had, feels special,” he says.

Nayacalevu himself had a starring role on Saturday with some devastating running and intelligent support lines to profit from winger Selestino Ravutaumada’s constant line breaks.

“There’s a very good team spirit at the moment and a good feeling within the group,” Raiwalui says. The coach and former Fiji captain says, the win sets them up well to face Wales, Australia, Georgia and Portugal in Pool C at the rugby world cup in France.

With kick-off only weeks away, Fiji head into the tournament with confidence and now pose a real threat to their tier-one ‘pool-mates’ of making the quarter-finals.

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