Viliame Mata Pool D: Flying Fiji a big danger for Wales and the Wallabies

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Fiji

Who are they?

Fiji are reunited with Wales and Australia in Japan, after the three sides were placed in the same Rugby World Cup pool for a second-successive tournament. Four years ago the Pacific Islanders were unable to lay a glove on either side – this time, however, they will fancy their chances of causing an upset and earning a surprise place in the quarter-finals. Fijian rugby is currently in rude health, with John McKee’s side securing a landmark victory over France last November. Their 21-14 win at the Stade de France was a maiden success over Les Bleus, and their first win over a Tier One nation other than Italy or Scotland since 2007.

And Fiji have carried that momentum into their World Cup preparations, earning a first win over the Maori All Blacks in 62 years when the two sides met in Suva in July. McKee’s Fiji side play in a style befitting their heritage – they are fast and physical, stocked to the brim with powerful, exciting runners and with an often unplayable offload game. There is no shortage of experience either with the core of their squad – the likes of Leone Nakarawa, Bill Mata and Ben Volavola – plying their trade with some of Europe’s top sides.

The coach

Appointed as head coach in 2014, John McKee has steered Fiji to two consecutive World Cup appearances

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