Fiji are hoping to ‘put England to sleep’ as the Pacific Islanders eye up a repeat of their Rugby World Cup warm up victory against Steve Borthwick’s side on Sunday as well as a place in the final four
- Fiji are hoping to continue their fine form with a win against England on Sunday
- Victory will see the Pacific Islanders qualify for the semi-finals for the first time
- And they believe they can ‘put Steve Borthwick’s side to sleep’ during the clash
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
Fiji believe they can put England ‘to sleep’ as they attempt to ‘shock the world’ in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final.
The Pacific Islanders are playing in their first knockout match since 2007 and are also hoping to reach the final four for the first time.
They beat England at Twickenham in August and forwards coach Graham Dewes yesterday claimed that his players can do it again.
‘On our day we can match anyone,’ said Dewes, whose team lost to Portugal on Sunday. ‘Sometimes when we play tier-two nations, we drop our standards.
‘We don’t plan to do it but things happen on the day. When we play the tier-one nations, if we get it right we put them to sleep.
Fiji will take on England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday and are looking to secure another huge victory against Steve Borthwick’s side
Simon Raiwalui’s side have enjoyed a fantastic Rugby World Cup so far defeating both Australia and Georgia to book their place in the knockout stages of the tournament
Fiji claimed their first-ever victory against England back in August and continued their fine vein of form to claim a huge 22-15 victory against Australia to secure a spot in the knockouts
‘Fiji on their day are capable of shocking the world. We’ve done it in the past, and if we stick to our gameplan, then we’ll do it again.’
Fiji have been adopted as the French public’s second team with their exciting attacking style and kicking coach Seremaia Bai believes the excitement will reach fever pitch back home.
Bai has called for a week-long national holiday if Fiji defy the odds and qualify for the semi-finals.
‘I don’t call it excitement — I think “crazy”!’ said Bai, part of the 2007 playing squad.
‘A little island in Fiji, everyone gets up at three or five o’clock in the morning. People who are sick come alive when we win games.
‘Everybody’s excited. I know that comes with disappointment along the way, but 16 years ago we made the quarter-final and now we’re here where no one even gave a possibility for us to make it. We’re going to make the most of it.
‘As a tier-two nation we don’t get the opportunity often to play against tier-one nations like England. This is probably the only opportunity you can make in three or four years.
Here we are, the only tier-two nation who made these quarter-finals and it’s something we should be proud of.
‘It’s not going to be easy, but hey, what a great opportunity for us to come against England in this quarter-final.’
Asked how the country would react to a victory, he added: ‘It will be a one-week holiday in Fiji! It will be crazy.
‘Rugby means a lot for us in Fiji, it just gives us life, it keeps everybody happy and everybody comes alive, comes together. It keeps the country in unity. Through rugby, whatever the result, hopefully we’ll make the country proud.
Forwards coach Graham Dewes (middle), who also played for the national side believes his team can ‘put England to sleep’
It’s been a difficult campaign for Steve Borthwick’s side, who narrowly beat Samoa during their last outing
And Fiji will present a huge challenge on Sunday, with the Pacific Islanders eyeing up a spot in the final four at the tournament
‘France is Fiji, Fiji is France. We love France, it’s become our home. We’re grateful for the support and overwhelmed with all the support we have away from home.’
Fiji’s campaign has been hit by personal tragedies, with centre Josua Tuisova losing his son and hooker Sam Matavesi losing his father.
‘In Fiji family is everything,’ added Bai. ‘We have been 15 weeks away from our families so we make that this becomes our family. If one suffers, we all suffer.
‘We know the players and the families come from humble beginnings and we make sure there is the care and the love that they need.
‘It is a very tough moment but we need to stay together and care for one another.’
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