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Flying Fijians ready for the All Blacks

Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter is excited at the prospect of Tailevu halfback Simione Kuruvoli facing All Black veteran Aaron Smith in the first Test between the two Pacific teams on Saturday.

“Simi Kuruvoli is only having his second game for Fiji and against the All Blacks, and he is playing against Aaron Smith,” Cotter said yesterday.

The Flying Fijians will face New Zealand at 7pm on Saturday at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin in the first Test followed by a second Test the following weekend at Christchurch..

“(Kuruvoli) has big shoes to fill but he has trained really well, he’s been speaking well, and connects well with Volavola; nine and ten and he’s got Kini Murimuritvalu at fullback who helps him a lot,” Cotter said.

Cotter said 25-year-old Seta Tuicuvu was impressive at training and would be on the bench covering for fullback, first five and halfback.

“Seta’s a very talented player doesn’t talk much but when we said go to halfback he played very well,” Cotter said.

He said the full squad that had been named were not all together yet but the team named to play on Saturday were confident to play New Zealand.

“We still haven’t got Moses Sorovi, we still haven’t got Frank Lomani neither have we got Teti. We haven’t got all our team but we have a team that is confident to play the All Blacks,” Cotter said.

“We have got experience with Leone Nakarawa and cohesion in the lineout, we have experience with Peni Ravai starting, Johny Dyer brings his leadership. We need leadership to protect Kuruvoli.”

Despite a short preparation time, Cotter has managed to name an experienced forward pack to match the power and pace of the All Blacks.

Flying Fijians V All Blacks Line-Up

1. Peni Ravai, 2.Samuel Matavesi, 3. Mesake Doge, 4. Temo Mayanavanua, 5. Leone Nakarawa, 6. Johnny Dyer, 7. Mesulame Kunavula, 8. Albert Tuisue, 9. Simione Kuruvoli, 10. Ben Volavola, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 12. Levani Botia {c}, 13. Waisea Nayacalevu, 14. Eroni Sau, 15. Kini Murimurivalu

Reserves: 16. Peni Narisia *, 17. Haereiti Hetet, 18. Leeroy Atalifo, 19. Tevita Ratuva, 20. Peceli Yato, 21. Setareki Tuicuvu, 22. Eneriko Buliruarua *, 23. Manasa Mataele *

(*) indicated for the debutants in the squad.

Fiji Rugby Union Team. Photo Fiji Rugby Union

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