Fiji: Former All Black Seta Tamanivalu named in Pacific Nations Cup squad

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Former All Black Seta Tamanivalu has been selected in Fiji’s squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup.

The wing or centre, who starred for the Chiefs and Crusaders in Super Rugby between 2015 and 2018, was born and raised in Fiji before moving to New Zealand.

Tamanivalu earned three caps for the All Blacks in 2016 but has not featured for them since then and under World Rugby’s new eligibility laws qualifies for the Flying Fijians.

He is one of 10 new caps in the squad, with the other nine coming from the new Super Rugby franchise Fijian Drua.

They include Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota, two centres that have absolutely lit up the tournament in 2022.

Depth in Fiji rugby

“It’s very exciting and a real honour for us to present the first Flying Fijians squad of 2022 to the Fijian people,” head coach Vern Cotter said.

“We have selected a squad from the best available players playing in the world’s top competitions, and I’m buoyed by the depth in Fiji Rugby at the moment.

“The Fijian Drua players come to us battle-hardened after their impressive first season in Super Rugby Pacific, and they will compete fiercely for spots with those players returning from the French Top 14 and English Premiership Rugby.”

This year’s PNC campaign will take place in Fiji, where they will take on Tonga, Samoa and Australia A, but the fans will not get to see stars Nemani Nadolo and Leone Nakarawa, who are absent.

Semi Radradra, Peceli Yato and Viliame Mata are also missing from squad, but they are currently recovering from injury.

There is, however, place for blockbuster backs Jiuta Wainiqolo, Josua Tuisova and Waisea Nayacalevu, who have all shone in the Top 14 this season.

“The PNC series is extremely important for us. We’re playing at home for the first time in a long time, and we want to do well,” Cotter added.

“Tonga has already named a very strong squad with returning internationals, and we know that Samoa will do so as well.

“Australia A will send a good team of players who will have just missed out on selection for the Wallabies from Australian Super Rugby clubs who performed really well against the New Zealand sides this year. There’s good depth in Australian rugby as well and everyone is fighting to impress selectors.

“We also have our eyes on the bigger picture, and the PNC is an excellent opportunity for our players to put their hands up for selection for November’s northern tour where we play Scotland, Ireland and the French Barbarians. This is exactly the type of challenge we need in preparation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.”

Fiji’s 34-man squad for the PNC

Forwards: Haereiti Hetet, Eroni Mawi Sam Matavesi, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesulame Dolokoto, Luke Tagi, Mesake Doge, Manasa Saulo, Tevita Ratuva, Temo Mayanavanua, Isoa Nasilasila, Ratu Leone Rotusolia, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Albert Tuisue, Mesulame Kunavula, Levani Botia, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Rusiate Nasove

Backs: Frank Lomani, Simione Kuruvoli, Peni Matawalu, Ben Volavola, Teti Tela, Setareki Tamanivalu, Vilimoni Botitu, Apisalome Vota, Waisea Nayacalevu, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Josua Tuisova, Vinaya Habosi, Manasa Mataele, Setareki Tuicuvu, Ilaisa Droasese

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific highlights: Brumbies keep Australian title hopes alive with win over Hurricanes


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