19 Jul 2019

Sport: Flying Fijians in NZ for Māori rematch

2:21 pm on 19 July 2019

The Flying Fijians and the Fiji Under 20 rugby sides were welcomed to New Zealand this week ahead of their rematch against the Māori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday.

Fiji captian Dominiko Waqaniburotu

Fiji captian Dominiko Waqaniburotu Photo: Creatvie commons

The Fijians defeated the New Zealand side in an historic 27-10 victory in Suva last weekend.

A welcome powhiri was held for the islanders at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua and the visitors hope the New Zealand winter will not dampen their confidence or chance of winning this weekend's rematch.

The New Zealand-born Fijian head coach John McKee says rugby is more than just what happens on the field.

"It's a really great part of the game of rugby that cultures can meet each other and share experiences like this.

"Just as the Māori people of New Zealand have a great tradition so do the Fijian people. And it's great to see them come together like this."

Fiji coach John McKee will name his starting lineup against the Māori All Blacks on Friday.

McKee has included 11 new players to his 26-member squad in Rotorua.

McKee said he's giving everyone an opportunity to step up and show what they can do ahead of selection for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

Māori All Blacks head coach Clayton McMillan has retained his playing 23 from last week's disappointing loss.

With a few positional changes, the main switch in Saturday's lineup sees five of last week's reserves pick up starting positions in Rotorua.

NZ Māori: Ross Wright, Ash Dixon (captain), Tyrel Lomax, Tom Franklin, Pari Pari Parkinson, Reed Prinsep, Mitch Karpik, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Bryn Hall, Otere Black, Sean Wainui, Alex Nankivell, Rob Thompson, Jordan Hyland, Shaun Stevenson. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Haereiti Hetet, Marcel Renata, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Akira Ioane, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Fletcher Smith, Teihorangi Walden.

Flying Fijians: Campese Ma'afu, Veremalua Vugakoto, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Tevita Ratuva, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (captain), Mosese Voka, Nemani Nagusa, Henry Seniloli, Alivereti Veitokani, Filipo Nakosi, Jale Vatubua, Waisea Nayacalevu, Patrick Osbourne, Kini Murimurivalu. Res: Samuela Matavesi, Jelie Veitayaki, Luke Tagi, Albert Tuisue, John Dyer, Serupepeli Vularika, Sevanaia Galala, Josh Matavesi.