Fiji have already beaten Australia and now have England in their sights… Mail Sport picks out three Fijians for Steve Borthwick’s men to fear ahead of Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final
- Fiji beat Australia in the group stages to make the knockout rounds in France
- They are set to face England in the quarter-finals this weekend in Marseille
- Mail Sport assesses their three biggest threats heading into the match
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
Fiji take on England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup and have been impressive so far during their campaign, booking their place in the knockout stages with a huge victory against Australia and another against Georgia.
Simon Raiwalui’s side have also already beaten Steve Borthwick’s team this summer, clinching their first ever win against England back in August, running three tries past the 2003 World Cup winners at Twickenham on the eve of the tournament.
It was an epic victory but Fiji have continued their fine vein of form, playing some superb running rugby to defeat Eddie Jones’ Australia 22-15 in the group stages.
Despite succumbing to Portugal in their final outing of the group stages, the Pacific Islanders will be a very tough opponent for Borthwick’s side on Sunday.
And ahead of the quarter-final clash, Mail Sport’s Nik Simon has picked three Fijian players who England will need to watch out for.
Fiji take on England in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday in Marseille
It’s gearing up to be a huge clash, with Fiji having already beaten England back in August in the World Cup warm ups
Steve Borthwick’s side have not endured the best World Cup campaign so far but will face a tough test from the Fijians
Levani Botia – The Jackaler (Flanker)
It is impossible to exaggerate just how freakishly brilliant this flanker is. At La Rochelle, he is worshipped as a cult figure among the fervent supporters of the double European champions.
They chant his name at every game as the humble hero, nicknamed ‘Demolition Man’, wreaks havoc for opponents at the breakdown.
That is his domain. Having played centre in the past, Botia is a good runner and ball-handler too, but his primary attribute is his ability to poach possession at rucks. No one does it better. England are braced for big trouble.
Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata – The offloader (No 8)
One of the stereotypical images of Fijian rugby at its best involves a rangy forward storming into contact but then somehow managing to release the ball to a team-mate in support.
Levani Botia (left) is one of several players England will need to watch out for on Sunday. The flanker is one of the best jacklers in the game and can be a menace at the breakdown
Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata (middle) will be a huge threat with the ball in hand, with the No 8 being one of the best offloaders in the business
Josua Tuisova (right) will be another player England must guard against, with the centre being a powerful ball carrier through midfield
Leone Nakarawa used to be the benchmark for this particular trick and now Mata, the towering Edinburgh No 8, has taken on the mantle, although he is just one exponent in a team full of classy off-loaders.
Josua Tuisova – ‘The Bus’ (Centre)
Fiji’s 17st 8lb power carrier in midfield is a formidable weapon of mass destruction.
He is short, squat and strong, as well as explosive, which means he can break tackles and also make monster hits of his own. He is also a major breakdown asset, as his frame makes him hard to shift.
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