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Flying Fijians set to soar against Wales

Flying Fijians set to soar against Wales
Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool D - Georgia v Fiji - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka, Japan - October 3, 2019 Fiji players celebrate after the match REUTERS/Matthew Childs -
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MATTHEW CHILDS(Reuters)
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By Nick Mulvenney

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fiji were on the wrong side of the first upset of the Rugby World Cup but, having got their mojo back with a big win over Georgia, the Pacific islanders are plotting one of their own against Six Nations champions Wales.

The Flying Fijians displayed their trademark brand of running rugby with six tries in the second half against a rugged Georgia side in Osaka on Thursday, dispelling some of the disappointment from their loss to minnows Uruguay.

“The team was pretty happy with the result yesterday and the morale in the team is pretty high at the moment,” lock Api Ratuniyarawa told reporters in Osaka on Friday.

“We can take a lot of confidence from that win and we can take that into our next game against Wales.

“We have got a world-class back line so first of all we have to do the work in the forwards and dominate the scrums and the maul. When you have that space out wide, you can see what they do.”

Fiji were also impressive in the first half of their opening loss to Australia but two defeats means their hopes of beating Wales to progress to the quarter-finals are slim and reliant on unlikely upsets elsewhere.

They did just that in 2007, of course, when they won a World Cup classic in Nantes 38–34 to go through to the knockout stage at the expense of the Welsh.

Wales will think they have a better team than that this year, having won a Six Nations Grand Slam, briefly topped the world rankings and beaten Australia in their second Pool D match.

Northampton Saints second row Ratuniyarawa, though, believes that a repeat of 2007 might be on the cards if the Fijians get into the right frame of mind for Wednesday’s match in Oita.

“For us, it is about preparing well and training hard, and anything is possible,” he said.

“We are looking forward to playing them next week. We know they are a good team in our pool, so it is a big challenge for us. If we can get those things we need to do right, it will be a good day.

“We saw against Georgia yesterday our capabilities and what we can do. It has been frustrating for us after the Uruguay game, so we worked hard to do well and the focus was there.

“We want to bring back that type of mentality going into this week, but take it up to another level because we know Wales are a better side.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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