Fiji turn to Little
September 23, 2011
Fiji veteran Nicky Little has scored more points than any other player in this fixture © Getty Images
Veteran fly-half Nicky Little will start for Fiji in Sunday's pivotal Rugby World Cup Pool D clash with Samoa in Auckland.
The 34-year-old Little has been preferred to Waisea Luveniyali at No.10 in the only change to the back-line which faced the Springboks last weekend.
There are, however, four changes up front. Dominiko Waqaniburotu misses out through suspension and his place at blindside flanker goes to Netani Talei, who will be joined in the back-row by Mala Ravulo and Sisa Koyamaibole, with openside Akapusi Qera and No.8 Sakiusa Matadigo the men to make way.
The final change comes in the second-row, with Seko Kalou recalled at the expense of Wame Lewaravu, who drops out of the matchday 22.
"I can't be more confident than this, otherwise I'll have to put the boots on and run out myself," Fiji boss Samu Domoni said following the team announcement. "This is it. These are the guys who will take Fiji forward."
Addressing the decision to recall Little, Domoni explained that the former Sale, Bath and Saracens back brings a level of composure and experience to the table that Luveniyali just cannot match.
"It's a pressure game, and he's comfortable in that area from the first minute," Domoni said. "He does everything we ask, he's been doing it all this time and we're comfortable putting him in at No.10 to distribute what we need."
Little, meanwhile, is hoping to vindicate his coach's faith in him by making his mark on what is his fourth Rugby World Cup.
"I feel honoured every time I get a chance," he said. "Even running on last week with 20 minutes to go, it was just great to get out there and have a last hurrah really. Hopefully I'll play well for Luveniyali, whose place I took, and I can keep the squad up and running."
Fiji: Kini Murimurivalu; Vereniki Goneva, Gaby Lovobalavu, Seremaia Bai, Naipolioni Nalaga; Nicky Little, Nemia Kenatale; Campese Ma'afu, Sunia Koto, Deacon Manu (capt); Seko Kalou, Leone Nakarawa; Netani Talei, Mala Ravulo, Sisa Koyamaibole.
Replacements: Talemaitoga Tuapati, Setefano Somoca, Rupeni Nasiga, Akapusi Qera, Vitori Buatava, Albert Vulivuli, Waisea Luveniyali.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter