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Friday, April 12, 2024

FIJ eve of match (v AUS): coach Dewes, Nasilasila, Mawi

SAINT-ÉTIENNE – Comments from Fiji assistant coach Graham Dewes, second-row Isoa Nasilasila and prop Eroni Mawi at a media briefing on Saturday on the eve of their Pool C match against Australia.

Graham Dewes, assistant coach 

On gaining confidence from Australia focusing heavily on their defence this week:

“Certainly when we hear that it gives us confidence, but the main thing for us is we just need to worry about ourselves, doing the basics really well. If we can do that then they can practise all they want.”

On how only the ‘natural Fijian style’ can break their 69-year-winless streak against Australia: 

“It has been a long time, I think the last time Fiji beat Australia was 1954. For us, reflecting on last week’s game, if we’d just done a few things, nailed our basics, we would have nailed those opportunities we had. So, it’s the same thing, nothing changes.

“Just do the basics and our natural game will flow. Those offloads will come into play when we get good front-foot ball, just playing the natural Fijian style.”

On bringing Josua Tuisova in to inside-centre and moving Semi Radradra to wing: 

“We want to give Josua a go, he’s a big power runner. We see Australia as a team that has a lot of power runners as well, so we want to bring some of our biggest power runners on right from the start this weekend.”

On starting their stadium run with a squad-wide game of football: 

“We like to mix it up a little bit. Our boys are very talented with a rugby ball but probably with a soccer ball they need a bit more practice.

“Our boys loves games, just to warm up and get their energy flowing. It doesn’t take much for our boys to get excited.

“You’re asking the wrong person (about the rules of their practice match). I am not very good at football either.”

On cooking typical Fijian dish lovo in a hole under the ground in a Bordeaux park: 

“We did cook a lovo for the team. Management jumped in and prepared it with some of our non-players.”

Isoa Nasilasila, second-row (pictured)

On how tough it is to keep ‘playing with a smile’ now they often go into big matches as favourites: 

“It is tough, especially with the amount of pressure we know we are going to be having tomorrow afternoon. But just as long as get our set-piece and our plays right, we know how to play with each other.”

On the evolution of Fiji’s set-piece in the recent past: 

“Over the past few years we’ve had a real emphasis on learning our set-piece, trying to build a game around it, because obviously you can’t really play without a set-piece.

“Individually, I think we’ve done a pretty good job at building our set-piece.”

On the impact Fiji’s new Super Rugby side, Fijian Drua, is having on young kids back home: 

“The young kids growing up can look at the Fijian Drua players and see that’s their team. They can aspire to be someone that is close to home for them and they can relate to. A lot of the boys, they grew up in the village, stayed there and played for the local teams. This gives the young boys more role models.”

Eroni Mawi, prop

On bringing a little bit of atmosphere from his English club Saracens into the Fiji camp: 

“A little bit. I wouldn’t say all the Saracens atmosphere.”


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