Fijian Latui has loaded up with test quality players as they aim to become the first side to take down the all-conquering Western Force, and in the process claim the Pacific Showcase Series crown when they step out onto HBF Park on Friday night.
Head Coach Senirusi Seruvakula has selected nine players who will take part in Fiji’s upcoming Pacific Test series, a key build-up tournament to the Rugby World Cup in September. Five of those will be in the run-on side, including the full front row, while Seruvakula will have the luxury of a bench also brimming with talent.
In all, there are nine changes to the side that defeated Kagifa Samoa in New Zealand a fortnight ago. Abrasive centre John Stewart, who score a double in Fiji’s opening game of the Pacific Series, is back in the #12 jumper, while England based scrumhalf, Henry Seniloli, will play his first match for Fijian Latui coming off the pine.
In their last outing in Lautoka a month ago the Force employed a game plan that called on speed from the defensive line to interrupt Fijian Latui’s ball movement. Both sides scored three tries in that clash, and it was only the kicking accuracy of the Force in front of the sticks that separated the sides.
Head Coach Tim Sampson knows that to get the result his team will need a combination of defensive fortitude and attacking prowess and has brought flyhalf Andrew Deegan into the starting side. Deegan has played the last three games off the bench after overcoming a thumb injury sustained in the club’s first game of the Asia Showcase in March. He was instrumental in turning the game in favour of the Force last weekend after being injected into the fray in the second half.
Exciting West Australian youngster Clay Uyen will also start, having been elevated into the Force XV to replace Fijian Gold Medallist Masi Dakuwaqa. The tough winger will miss the clash against his countrymen with a calf injury.
After being tested by Kagifa Samoa last week the Force will need a full 70-minute performance if they are to maintain their unbeaten run and add the Pacific Showcase title to their Asia triumph.
In addition to a high-octane game of Rapid Rugby, fans will be treated to a pre-game performance from ARIA award winning band The Black Sorrows featuring legendary frontman Joe Camilleri from 7.00pm. The Black Sorrows set will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display and more on-field performers ahead of a 7.40pm kick-off.
Where: HBF Park, Perth
Date: Friday, 21 June 2019
Kick-off: 7.40pm AWST / SGT / HKT | 9.40pm AEST | 11.40pm FJT / NZST
This game will be broadcast live at 7.30pm local, for information on where the match will be telecast in each region, click here.
Starting XV: 1.Harrison LLOYD, 2.Feleti KAITU’U, 3.Kieran LONGBOTTOM, 4.Johan BARDOUL, 5.Fergus LEE-WARNER, 6.Henry STOWERS, 7.Tevin FERRIS, 8.Brynard STANDER, 9.Issak FINES, 10.Andrew DEEGAN, 11.Clay UYEN, 12.Henry TAEFU, 13.Marcel BRACHE (C), 14.Rod DAVIES, 15.Jack McGREGOR
Reserves: 16.Heath TESSMAN, 17.Cameron ORR, 18.Tom SHEMINANT, 19.Jeremy THRUSH, 20.Leon POWER, 21.Rory O’SULLIVAN, 22.AJ ALATIMU, 23.Nick JOOSTE
Starting XV: 1.Joeli VEITAYAKI, 2.Mesulame DOLOKOTO, 3.Luke TAGI, 4.Sikeli NABOU, 5.Tevita NAQALI, 6.Mosese VOKA (C), 7.Elia CAMAKAIVATA, 8.Peni RAIDRE, 9.Frank LOMANI, 10.Malele TIKOTANI, 11.John STEWART, 12.Cyril REECE, 13.Joeli LUTUMAILAGI, 14.Ifereimi TOVILEVU, 15.Apisalome WAQATABU
Reserves: 16.Veremalua VUGAKOTO, 17.Eroni MAWI, 18.Mateo QOLISESE, 19.Filimoni SERU, 20.Johnny DYER, 21.Henry SENILOLI, 22.Serupepeli VULARIKA, 23.Tuidraki SAMUSAMUVODRE
Referee: Tim BAKER, AR1: Mark SHERIFF, AR2: Kyle BURNETT, TMO: Alex NINKOV