Fiji vs Scotland at ANZ Stadium in Suva
Saturday, June 24th
ANZ Stadium, Suva
14:30 local (02:30 GMT)
They will be looking to continue their good work by beating Scotland.
Last weekend the flying Fijians stole a win verses the Italians courtesy of a last-minute Ben Volavola drop goal. People had labelled them as underdogs prior to that clash.
They too were given underdog status verses Australia but came out victorious with a 24-19 scorecard. The Scots now risen to 5th in the World Rankings behind only New Zealand, England, Ireland & Australia.
They finished 4th in the 6 Nations (above Wales) & recorded wins over Ireland, Italy & Wales in that competition.
The victory verses the Australians was probably the icing on the cake. Despite some thinking they might regress with former coach Vern Cotter leaving, Gregor Townsend has come in & masterminded an incredible upset in only his 2nd game in charge.
Sadly, they are without playmaker Finn Russell & prop Allan Dell, both of whom have been called up for British & Irish Lions duty. They will now rely on Peter Horne to step up to the plate.
The Fijians are rejuvenated flyer Patrick Osborne’s return. Osborne has been in terrific form in Super Rugby & will love to play well here.
Although some in Fijian circles question the exclusion of Alivereti Raka, Timoci Nagusa, Vereniki Goneva & Eroni Vasiteri, this is yet a powerful Fijian side.
Coach John McKee seems to have induced more structure on defense in the side which has for years been a weakness. Yes, their natural ability cannot be coached & the best way to manage this is to allow their skilful backs to express themselves.
Players to watch
The destructive Patrick Osborne. Osborne is blessed with wonderful skill-set & is a natural-born finisher. If given time & space, he will punish you. Ben Volavola is certainly making a name for himself. He enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Rebels in Super Rugby. Volavola announced himself on the international scene last weekend with a match-winning drop-goal.
Explosive winger Tim Visser has been in great form for club & country & is always a threat on attack. He never loses hope & will take any opportunity given.. Also, starting hooker Ross Ford has become the most-capped Scottish player ever. Ford scored 2 tries in his side’s demolition of the Italians 2 weeks ago.
Scotland won 37-25 in Lautoka in 2012.
Again in 2009 Scotland won 23-10 in Murrayfield.
In 2002 and 2003 Scotland won in Sydney & in Murrayfield.
Scotland to continue their excellent recent form.
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