RWC2023: England will be tougher opponent for Flying Fijians in quarters, says Raiwalui

Flying Fijians fullback Sireli Maqala tries to dance his way through the Portugese defence
Flying Fijians fullback Sireli Maqala tries to dance his way through the Portugese defence during their Rugby World Cup final pool match at the Toulouse Stadium in Toulouse, France, losing 23-24. Image: Martin Seras Lima/FT

By Rodney Duthie of The Fiji Times

Flying Fijians head coach Simon Raiwalui says facing England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be different from when they met last month in Twickenham.

The match in London saw Fiji topple the tier one nation 30-22 for the first time, two weeks away from the World Cup and was described as one of the lowest moments in English rugby history.

The two sides will face-off at Stade de Marseille in a week’s time at 3am.

“They [England] play rugby to win. They’re very talented. They’ll put a lot of pressure on us at set-piece time as well,” Raiwalui said.

“Tactically, they’ll look to take advantage of some of the things we’ve been doing, so they’re a very good team. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

He said he expected England to change their game a little bit.

“It’s a totally different match [to when Fiji beat England in August], playing a different team. There will be aspects of how they play that are similar but they will bring new stuff as well.

“It’s about us being efficient and doing the things we do well and giving ourselves the best chance to compete.

“We’ve played the team, the boys are comfortable. It’s not the first time, so I think it will be a good match.”

Pacific RWC results
Fiji just scraped into the quarter-finals losing to Portugal 24-23 in their final and deciding pool match in Toulouse on Monday morning.

Other quarter-finals will see Wales battle Argentina in Marseille on Sunday morning, before Ireland and New Zealand clash in Saint Denis the same day.

The fourth semi-final will be between France and South Africa in Saint Denis on Monday morning.

Samoa are out of the World Cup after Sunday’s 18-17 defeat to England and Tonga also had an early exit after ‘Ikale Tahi scored seven tries for a bonus point 45-24 win in Lille to record their only cup win.

Republished with permission.

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