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Fiji not thinking about rankings says Raiwalui

NEWS: Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui said on Saturday his side’s record ranking of seventh has no impact on their preparation for the World Cup.

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After last weekend’s first win over England the Pacific islanders moved up to seventh, as they prepare to start their tournament against Wales on September 10.

“It changes nothing for us,” Raiwalui told reporters.

“We haven’t thought about the rankings.

“We’ve been taking it one game at a time. Since the preparation started we had a goal of improving every week.

“The objective and goal doesn’t change,” he added.

Former Fiji lock Raiwalui, 48, took over from Vern Cotter as head coach in February after the New Zealander resigned.

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Raiwalui has named a squad with 18 of his 33 players based with Super Rugby Pacific’s Fijian Drua, including fly-half Caleb Muntz and wing Selestino Ravutaumada.

The Drua reached the Super Rugby’ quarterfinals in their second season in June, losing to eventual winners the Crusaders.

“It’s opened up 40-50 places within our professional pathways, players at the highest level, living at home and we’ve seen the results of them,” Raiwalui said.

“It’s a huge benefit for Fiji Rugby,” he added.

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Fiji have met Wales in four World Cups, including 2007’s win in Nantes, just up the Atlantic coast from Bordeaux, where the sides meet next Sunday.

“We have a big history with Wales,” Raiwalui said.

“We’ve been in each other’s pool a number of times but the teams change, mindsets change.

“To the credit of the boys, they have really knuckled down, pushed themselves to put them in a good position against Wales.

“We’re really looking forward to the occasion, we’ll be ready for September 10,” he added.

 

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