Fijians target last-four finish

(IRB.COM) Thursday 8 September 2011
 
Fijians target last-four finish
Fiji's Gaby Lovobalavu will line up at outside centre on return from injury

TAURANGA, 8 Sept - Fiji vice-captain Gaby Lovobalavu revealed his team have set themselves the goal of reaching the semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2011.

It will be a tough challenge for the Flying Fijians, who have been drawn in Pool D - branded the “group of death” - alongside Samoa, South Africa and Wales.

Lovobalavu, named at outside centre in the team to take on Namibia in Rotorua on Saturday, said Fiji wanted to improve on their stunning feat in clinching a quarter-finals spot at RWC 2007.

“The goal is to go one further than the last World Cup,” said Lovobalavu, who makes his comeback after a serious leg injury against the African side.

Tough

“We’re in the pool of death but we’ve got the players to do the job.

“I’m a bit nervous going into the first match of the tournament but we’re ready to play Namibia.

“They’re an unpredictable team. We know it’s going to be tough.”

Centre Seremaia Bai and giant winger Naipolioni Nalaga have been recalled to the starting line-up after missing Fiji’s 32-20 defeat by Tonga in late August.

Nalaga, who this week moved from French club Clermont to Australian Super 15 side Western Force, will appear for the first time since a 60-14 loss to New Zealand in July in Dunedin.

Fiji beat Namibia 67-18 in their only previous head-to-head match at  RWC 1999.

RNS dp/tc/mj