Fiji drop Reds prop from World Cup squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Fiji head coach John McKee has finalised his 31-man squad for this month’s World Cup in Japan by omitting one player from his original 32-man side.
McKee had named a slightly enlarged squad for the tournament last month, which included one extra player than the 31 allowed for the tournament.
With the squad announcement deadline of September 8 looming, McKee has reduced his side by dropping 11-test Jersey Reds prop Lee-Roy Atalifo.
Atalifo had played in three of Fiji’s six matches this year, making appearances against the Maori All Blacks, Japan and Canada.
However, with six props named in the 32-man side, one needed to go, and, as one of the squad’s least experienced front rowers, Atalifo has been forced to bite the bullet.
He joins an 11-man reserve list of players who will be on standby should injury strike the Flying Fijians at any point throughout the World Cup.
“The final decision on the travelling five props was difficult with very little separating the players,” McKee said.
“I am pleased though to be able to now finalise the final 31 players to represent Fiji at Rugby World Cup 2019.
“This is a very strong group, one that can make Fiji proud at the Rugby World Cup,” McKee added.
“I am confident that the five props selected give us a balance of mobility in general play along with technical competence in the set play scrum and lineout.”
Fiji completed their World Cup preparation with a 29-19 victory over Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday, and have a three-week break until their tournament kicks-off against Australia in Sapporo on September 21.
Fiji World Cup squad:
Forwards: Campese Ma’afu, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Kalivati Tawake, Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto, Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato.
Backs: Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henry Seniloli, Levani Botia, Jale Vatubua, Ben Volavola, Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova, Joshua Matavesi, Alivereti Veitokani, Kini Murimurivalu
Fiji’s 11 standby players:
Lee-Roy Atilifo, Luke Tagi, Joeli Veitayaki, Tevita Ikanivere, Albert Tuisue, Johnny Dyer, Nemani Negusa, Serupepeli Vularika, Sevanaia Galala, Eroni Sau, Setareki Tuicuvu