RWC debut for Wainiqolo and Botitu

September 16, 2023 7:59 am

Two Fiji Water Flying Fijians players will make their Rugby World Cup debut this weekend against Australia.

Jiuta Wainiqolo and Vilimoni Botitu will experience for the first time what its like to play at the sport’s biggest stage.

Wainiqolo starts on the right wing ahead of Selestino Ravutaumada and Botitu is one of the eight reserves.

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It’s been an exciting last few days for Wainiqolo and says he can’t wait to run out on Monday.


‘I’m very happy, very excited, looking forward to the weekend’s game against Australia, I know this is one of the biggest tournament in rugby so I’m looking forward to represent my country and play alongside my brothers’.

Botitu who just joined the team six days ago as a replacement for the injured Caleb Muntz is over the moon with his selection.

He says he never gave up after failing to make the 33 member World Cup squad that was announced in Nadi last month.


“The main goal for me is to get back on the field, I’ve been working hard, I’m ready if I get a chance to be back on the field, yeah I’m 100% looking forward’.

Halfback Simione Kuruvoli who starts ahead of Frank Lomani says he has mixed feelings.


‘Yeah I’m a bit nervous too and obviously excited, I know that the boys behind me got my back’.

The Flying Fijians coaching team has made a few positional changes to the side.

Levani Botia is at openside flanker with Lekima Tagitagivalu moving to blindside.

Semi Radradra shifts to the wing and will line up against Mark Nawaqanitawase with Wainiqolo wearing the number 14 jersey.

The tight five of Eroni Mawi, Sam Matavesi, Luke Tagi, Isoa Nasilasila and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta have been retained along with Viliame Mata, captain Waisea Nayacalevu, Ilaisa Droasese and Teti Tela.

Apart from Botitu, the other reserves are Tevita Ikanivere, Peni Ravai, Mesake Doge, Temo Mayanavanua, Albert Tuisue, Frank Lomani and Vinaya Habosi.

Fiji plays Australia at 3:45am on Monday.