By Ed Elliot, PA, Dublin
Fiji boss Vern Cotter has suggested Saturday’s Test match in Dublin is nothing more than a “training session” to hosts Ireland due to their focus being on greater challenges.
Andy Farrell’s side go into the middle game of their autumn campaign having downed world champions South Africa and with Australia on the horizon.
The Flying Fijians have never beaten the nation currently top of the world rankings, losing each of the four previous meetings.
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) November 11, 2022
Head coach Cotter, who has made three personnel changes following last weekend’s defeat to Scotland, talked down the prospect of snapping that run, suggesting the game is a learning exercise opposed to a genuine contest.
“We will have to step up against Ireland,” he said, according to fijirugby.com.
“The game against South Africa has given them an enormous amount of confidence and they are barely looking at us because they have Australia the week after.
“For them, it’s just a training session and for us, it’s a game where we can learn so we will use this opportunity to get better.”
✅November 18, 1995 – Ireland 44 Fiji 8
✅November 17, 2002 – Ireland 64 Fiji 17
✅November 21, 2009 – Ireland 41 Fiji 6
✅November 18, 2017 - Ireland 23 Fiji 20#duavataveilomanirakavi #ANC pic.twitter.com/ILKzlYITx4
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) November 10, 2022
Cotter has recalled Teti Tela in place of Vilimoni Botitu at fly-half following the 28-12 loss at Murrayfield, while lock Isoa Nasilasila comes in for Temo Mayanavanua.
Seta Tuicuvu moves to full-back to fill the void left by the injured Kini Murimurivalu, giving Jiuta Wainiqolo an opportunity on the right wing.
Fiji team: S Tuicuvu; J Wainiqolo, W Nayacalevu, K Ravouvou, V Habosi; T Tela, F Lomani; E Mawi, S Matavesi, M Saulo, I Nasilasila, R L Rotuisolia, A Tuisue, L Botia, V Mata.
Replacements: M Dolokoto, L Natave, L Atalifo, A Ratuniyarawa, J Dyer, S Kuruvoli, B Volavola, A Cocagi.