The Fiji Residents versus Samoan Residents match will kick off at 5pm at Raemaru Park. (GRAPHICS: CHRIS ROWE / PICTURES: FRANCIS TOA)
Fireworks are expected on and off the field when arch-rivals Fiji takes on Samoa in the inaugural rugby series.
It’s do or die for Fiji Residents in the Tri-Nations rugby
union series this afternoon.
After going down to Cook Islands Residents 10-15 in the
opening match last week, the side faces a must win against Samoa Residents at
Raemaru Park in Arorangi.
Fiji Residents assistant coach Eli Bendini believes they still
have a chance.
“If we are able to beat Samoa then we are still in the
series which will then be decided in the final match between Cook Islands and
Samoa. So, we still have a chance,” Bendini said.
Individual play was one of the factors contributing to their
loss against the home side, he said.
“We have worked on our weaknesses and players had an extra
week to gel together so hopefully we play more as a team this week.”
Tupapa Panthers centre Tua Ravula has joined the Fijian side
and Bendini said they would make four to five other changes for the Samoa
“It will be a tough match and we will give our best.”
Samoa Residents coach Okesene “Ox” Moananu expects a fiery
Fijian side this afternoon.
“We are expecting nothing less than a tough match. They
already got one game under their belt and they will surely bring a lot of
physicality to the contest. They also have some dangerous runners and we have
to be ready for that,” Moananu said.
Samoa has named a solid 23-member squad for this match with
the likes of Afeleti Anau better known as Fereti Iona, Jeffrey Magele, Leki
Heavula, Samu Alafua, Viiga Reupena, Sione Likiliki and Ailaoa Samania leading
Cook Islanders, the Nicholas brothers Clive and Lui,
Agostini (Gas) Heather and Richard Piakura will also feature for the Samoans.
Moananu said: “We have a mixture of experienced players and
also some boys who have been out of the game for a bit … we have really focused
on players who can guide us when the pressure is on.”
Ben Koteka of Cook Islands Rugby Union said both teams have
speed to burn however the pressure would be on Fiji to win.
“This should be an exciting contest between these two
Pacific island super-powers. My prediction is for a high-scoring match and
whoever dominates up front will win this match! Best of luck to both teams.”
5pm Fiji Residents-Samoa Residents (Ref: Peter Godfrey,
Assist. Refs: Paul Peyroux/Tua Ngaputa. In Goal: Martin Mitchell/Eddie Elisaia.
Sub Bench: Dawn Crummer. Timing: Cathy Peyroux/Simi Teiotu)