After nervous showings against Georgia and Portugal, captain Waisea Nayacalevu has backed his side to play without fear
Atwinkle is rarely far from the eye of the Fiji captain, Waisea Nayacalevu, or a beaming smile from his face. Asked if it is special to be playing England on Sunday in Fiji’s first World Cup quarter‑final in 16 years he highlights, with a mischievous grin, how the Pacific Island is no longer under colonial rule. Quizzed about how much of an asset it is to have the openside flanker Levani Botia in Fiji’s ranks, he simply responds: “Have you watched him play?!”
Nayacalevu adopts a gravely serious tone when discussing the tragedy that has befallen the Fiji camp during this tournament, however. Josua Tuisova learned of the death of his seven-year-old son in the buildup to his side’s victory over Georgia but he stayed with his teammates, rather than return to Fiji, in order to aid their pursuit of a place in the knockout stages. Before the match against Portugal on Sunday the head coach, Simon Raiwalui, had said just that “it won’t be discussed, we’re keeping it private”, but after Fiji squeezed through to the knockout stages with a losing bonus point Nayacalevu paid a glowing tribute to his centre partner.
Written by Gerard Meagher in Toulouse
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/oct/09/fighting-fiji-sense-weaknesses-in-england-as-world-cup-clash-looms under the title “Fighting Fiji sense ‘weaknesses’ in England as World Cup clash looms”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.