Fiji national rugby union team

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Logo Fiji Rugby.svg
UnionFiji Rugby Union
Nickname(s)Flying Fijians
Emblem(s)the Palm
Coach(es)John McKee[1]
Captain(s)Akapusi Qera
Most capsNicky Little (71)
Top scorerNicky Little (670)
Most triesSanivalati Laulau (20)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 Tonga 9–6 Fiji 
(15 August 1924)
Largest win
 Niue 0–124 Fiji 
(11 September 1983)
Largest defeat
 New Zealand 91–3 Fiji 
(10 June 2005)
World Cup
Appearances5 (First in 1987)
Best resultQuarter-finals, 1987, 2007
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Logo Fiji Rugby.svg
UnionFiji Rugby Union
Nickname(s)Flying Fijians
Emblem(s)the Palm
Coach(es)John McKee[1]
Captain(s)Akapusi Qera
Most capsNicky Little (71)
Top scorerNicky Little (670)
Most triesSanivalati Laulau (20)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 Tonga 9–6 Fiji 
(15 August 1924)
Largest win
 Niue 0–124 Fiji 
(11 September 1983)
Largest defeat
 New Zealand 91–3 Fiji 
(10 June 2005)
World Cup
Appearances5 (First in 1987)
Best resultQuarter-finals, 1987, 2007

The Fiji national rugby union team is a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) formerly along with Samoa and Tonga. In 2009, Samoa announced their departure from the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, leaving just Fiji and Tonga. Fiji are ranked tenth in the world by the IRB as of 16 June 2014. Despite this low rating, in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Fiji defeated Wales 38–34 to claim a quarter final spot (theoretically placing them in the top 8 teams in the world) and proceeded to give eventual winners South Africa a scare eventually going down 37–20.

Fiji is one of the few countries where rugby union is the main sport. There are approximately 80,000 registered players from a total population of around 950,000. One of the problems for Fiji is simply getting their players to play for the country as many have contracts in Europe or with Super Rugby teams where the money is far more rewarding. The repatriated salaries of its overseas stars have become an important part of some local economies. In addition a significant number of players eligible to play for Fiji end up representing Australia or New Zealand; two notable examples are the Fiji-born, but New Zealand-raised, cousins and All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Sitiveni Sivivatu and Wallabies Wing Lote Tuqiri. Fiji has won the most Pacific Tri-Nations Championships of the three participating teams. The cibi (pronounced [ˈðimbi]) war dance is performed by the Fiji rugby team before each Test match. It has been used on the rugby field since 1939, though its origins date back to the country's warring times with its Pacific neighbours.


Main article: Rugby union in Fiji
Fiji presenting Cibi before 2011 Rugby World Cup match against South Africa.

Early years[edit]

Rugby was first played in Fiji by European and Fijian soldiers of the Native Constabulary at Ba, on Viti Levu Island in 1884. In 1913 a Union was founded for the European settlers.

In December 1913, the All Blacks, who had been touring so very successfully in California, were on their way back to New Zealand. The Fiji RFU arranged a game with them at Albert Park, the first representative match to be played in the colony. The Fiji team were Europeans. The All Blacks won 67–3; Fiji's points came from a try scored by their captain and coach, PJ Sheehan. By 1914 a 'native competition' was started and in 1915 a Fiji Native Union was begun and became affiliated to the Fiji RFU.

Inter war period[edit]

Fiji played their first international against Western Samoa in Apia, Samoa on 18 August 1924. Fiji's 20-man squad came exclusively from the five registered native clubs of the time. The match was played at 7 am to allow the Samoans time to get to work afterwards and was played on a pitch with a large tree on the halfway line. Fiji wore black and won 6–0 despite playing barefoot. The return match was won 9–3 by Samoa to draw the series. The first-ever Fiji test team continued their overseas adventure with a nine-match tour of Tonga. Though Fiji lost the first test played in Nukuʻalofa 9–6, they were not to lose again, taking the second test 14–3 then drawing the decider 0–0. They won all six of the matches against non-test opposition.

Auckland University College were the first overseas side to visit Fiji in 1926, The Kiwi students played the Fiji Europeans and finished the three-match series with a win, loss and draw. Tonga also visited Fiji that year and for the first time Fiji played in their present strip of white jersey, palm tree badge and black shorts. The three match series finished level with Tonga winning the first test 9–6; Fiji winning the second 14–3 and the final game a 0–0 draw.

During the 1927 season, a General Meeting was called for the purpose of arranging a return visit to New Zealand at the invitation of Auckland University. Some 30 players expressed their willingness to make the trip, but after all arrangements had been made, there were insufficient players available so management cancelled the trip, much to the regret of Auckland.

Between 1924 and 1938 Fiji and Tonga played three test series every alternate year. During this period this was the only representative rugby union that Fiji played. Matches between the two Pacific nations were hard fought; many have claimed that the ancient feuding wars between the Islanders were transplanted onto the rugby field. Troubles during the third Test of Fiji's 1928 tour to Tonga forced the game to be abandoned with Tonga losing 11–8

The first New Zealand Māori team to visit Fiji came in 1938. Fijians played in boots for the first time but there was still a tendency to take off boots during the match and throw them to the touch-line. On the five-match tour, the Māori beat Fiji 2nd XV and Fiji Europeans before playing a three match series. The first test ended in a 3–3 draw, the second an 11–5 win for the Fijians and the Māori won the final test 6–3 to square the series.

In 1939 Fiji toured New Zealand for the first time. Fiji's captain for that tour, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, decided that his side should have a war dance to rival the haka. He approached Ratu Bola, the high chief of the warrior clan of Navusaradave in Bau, who taught them the cibi which has been Fiji's pre-match ritual ever since. With many players still preferring to play barefoot, the Fijians played with a care-free spirit and created history by becoming the first team to go through a full tour of New Zealand unbeaten, winning seven and drawing one, a record that stands to this day. They played and beat the Māori again 14–4.

Post war era[edit]

Fiji successfully toured New Zealand again in 1951. They beat the New Zealand Māori 21–14. Fiji's first tour of Australia helped the Australian Rugby Union recover from the brink of bankruptcy in 1952. The Test series was drawn 1–1 in front of record crowds. Australia won the first test 15–9 but the Fijians took the second with a 17–15 win.

A second tour of Australia took place in 1954 and again drew record crowds. Again Australia won the first test but only by 22–19. The test series was drawn 1–1 after Fiji won the second test 18–16. The same year Fiji played host to Western Samoa. Fiji toured New Zealand again in 1957 and beat the Māoris 36–13 in Dunedin and 17–8 in Wellington, then defeated a strong Auckland team 38–17.

In 1964 Fiji toured Europe for the first time, they played five memorable games in Wales, culminating in a classic encounter in Cardiff that was talked about for years. Wales won 28–22 but conceded six tries for just the second time in their history. In 1970 a rampant Fijian side destroyed the Barbarians 29–9 at Gosforth. A last-minute try saw New Zealand safely through 14–13 over Fiji in Suva in 1974.

In August 1977 the British Lions made a stopover in Fiji on the way home from their tour of New Zealand. Fiji beat them 25–21 at Buckhurst Park, Suva. In 1982 Fiji beat Vancouver XV to begin a 15-match winning streak through to 1984.

Modern era[edit]

Fiji played their first full test against Wales in Cardiff in 1985, the home pack dominating in a 40–3 win with two tries to Phil Davies. Fiji were also heavily beaten by Llanelli and Cardiff, but lost by just one point in their test with Ireland.

Wales visited Suva the following year, where captain Dai Pickering's summer tour was to a premature end when he suffered concussion. Richard Moriarty took over and saw his side's 13–0 lead cut to a single point before Wales pulled away for a 15–22 win.

In 1987 Fiji made the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup and seemed about to beat France, the

In 1991 Rugby World Cup Fiji lost all three of its matches and finished bottom of its pool. Wales' third test win over Fiji came in Suva in 1994. The tourists fielded a weakened line-up to allow all their squad a game, but they were good enough to run out 23–8 victors.

Fiji had a troubled tour of Wales and Ireland in 1995, losing six of nine games with defeat to Neath, Cardiff and Pontypridd. However, they managed to run Wales close at the Arms Park, losing only 15–19 win. They failed to qualify for the 1995 World Cup having lost to Tonga and Western Samoa.

Fiji rebuilt ahead of the 1999 World Cup, new coach Brad Johnstone instilling discipline and determination into their set-piece play. They made a winning start by beating Canada and Namibia and again seemed about to beat France in Toulouse when things went wrong. A controversial refereeing performance from Paddy O'Brien was felt to have cost them a win over France, Fiji losing 28–19. They did make the quarter-final play-off but lost 45–24 to England at Twickenham. Soon after the tournament Johnstone departed for Italy.

In 2001 Fiji were crowned Pacific Rim champions, defeating Samoa 28–17 in the final in Tokyo. Fiji's played Wales again at the Millennium Stadium in November 2002. Two tries and 21 points from the boot of Stephen Jones helped the home side to a comfortable 58–14 win.

Fiji began their 2003 Rugby World Cup qualifying campaign in June 2002 when the three leading Pacific Island nations faced each other in a round robin in the second round of the Oceania zone qualifiers. The Fijians started with defeats of Samoa and Tonga, but their loss to Samoa on home soil meant that they had to beat Tonga by more than 20 points to finish top of the pool. This they duly did with a 47–20 win in Nadi. At the World Cup they beat Japan 41–13 and narrowly survived a scare against the US Eagles winning 19–18. However a 20–22 loss against Scotland and an 18–61 beating by France saw them finish third in their pool and fail to qualify for the knock-out stage.

Results since have been mixed for Fiji. Although they have traditionally been the strongest of the Pacific Nations, they were beaten 29–27 by New Zealand Maori in 2004 and went down 91–0 by the All Blacks. In July 2006, five Fiji internationals were banned from playing international rugby for the rest of the year following a drunken brawl in Japan after a Pacific Five Nations match. [1] Their 2007 season started off as one of Fiji's worst seasons. They had a very inexperienced team and lost to both pacific rivals Tonga and Samoa, and suffered heavy defeats to Australia and the Junior All Blacks. The only win for Fiji at the 2007 "Pacific 6 Nations" was against Japan, however they did manage an unexpected 14–14 draw against Australia A. With most of Fiji's more experienced players back in the team Fiji slowly improved in the 2007 world cup to qualify for the quarter finals for the first time in 20 years.

2007 Rugby World Cup[edit]

Fiji were placed in Pool B of the 2007 Rugby World Cup along with Wales, Canada, Japan and Australia. After beating Japan and Canada in close matches, Fiji rested several key players against Australia for the crucial game against Wales. Australia defeated Fiji by 55–12. Fiji's fate in the tournament came down to a "winner advances" game against Wales which Fiji won 38–34 and qualified for the quarter-finals for the second time. Former Wallaby great Michael Lynagh described the see-sawing match as one of the best matches "of all time". Fiji lost their quarter final match against South Africa, however their above expectations performance in the tournament resulted in them moving up to 9th in the world rankings – their highest ever position. Shannon Fraser and Gregg Mumm from Australia acted as assistant coaches for the period leading up to the world cup and were accredited for much of the Fijians sides success.

Wins against Tier 1 nations[edit]


Top 25 Rankings as 20 October 2014[3]
1Steady New Zealand93.15
2Steady South Africa90.41
3Steady England85.68
4Steady Australia84.53
5Steady Ireland83.44
6Steady Wales80.70
7Steady France80.01
8Steady Scotland77.75
9Steady Samoa76.35
10Steady Argentina75.97
11Steady Japan75.63
12Steady Fiji74.58
13Steady Tonga72.83
14Steady Italy70.92
15Steady Georgia70.46
16Steady Romania68.42
17Steady Canada67.77
18Steady United States67.30
19Steady Uruguay63.58
20Steady Russia62.29
21Steady Spain60.65
22Steady Namibia58.39
23Steady Portugal57.73
24Steady Hong Kong57.63
25Steady South Korea57.22
*Change from the previous week
Fiji's Historical Rankings
Fiji IRB World Rankings.png
Source: IRB - Graph updated to 6 October 2014[3]

Their Test match record against all nations, updated to 26 September 2014, is as follows:[4]

TeamMatWonLostDraw %ForAgaDiff
British and Irish Lions1100100%2521+4
Classic All Blacks1100100%3314+19
 Cook Islands2200100%16113+148
 Hong Kong3300100%15533+122
 New Zealand50500%50364−314
 Papua New Guinea3300100%2533+250
 Solomon Islands2200100%19913+186
 South Africa30300%41129−88
 United States541080%12383+40

World Cup record[edit]

World Cup recordWorld Cup Qualification record
Australia/New Zealand 1987Quarter-final410372132Automatically qualified
United KingdomIREFrance 1991Pool Stage30032763
South Africa 1995Pool StageDid not qualify21012634
Wales 1999Quarter-final playoff420214811322007317
Australia 2003Pool Stage420298114430112380
France 2007Quarter-final530213417343017483
New Zealand 2011Pool Stage410359167Automatically qualified
England 2015-------11001086
Japan 2019To be determinedTo be determined

Current squad[edit]

On 2 October, McKee announced his 30-man squad for the 2014 end-of-year tests against France (8 Nov), Wales (15 Nov) and the United States (21 Nov).[6]

He also announced four additional reserve players that would be called up if a replacement is required, denoted by *.

Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the International Rugby Board.

PlayerPositionDate of Birth (Age)CapsClub/province
Sunia Koto *Hooker(1980-04-15) 15 April 1980 (age 34)37France Narbonne
Peni RavaiHooker(1990-06-16) 16 June 1990 (age 24)1Australia Greater Sydney Rams
Talemaitoga TuapatiHooker(1984-08-16) 16 August 1984 (age 30)25New Zealand Southland
Viliame VeikosoHooker(1982-04-04) 4 April 1982 (age 32)29Fiji Suva
Lee-Roy Atalifo *Prop(1988-05-10) 10 May 1988 (age 26)1Fiji Suva
Isei ColatiProp(1983-12-23) 23 December 1983 (age 30)2France Nevers
Taniela KoroiProp(1990-02-08) 8 February 1990 (age 24)0New Zealand Wellington
Campese Ma'afuProp(1984-12-19) 19 December 1984 (age 29)26England Nottingham
Manasa SauloProp(1989-04-06) 6 April 1989 (age 25)14Romania RC Timişoara
Jerry YanuyanutawaProp(1985-04-10) 10 April 1985 (age 29)17Scotland Glasgow Warriors
Tevita CavubatiLock(1987-08-12) 12 August 1987 (age 27)2New Zealand Tasman
Leone NakarawaLock(1988-04-02) 2 April 1988 (age 26)22Scotland Glasgow Warriors
Apisalome RatuniyarawaLock(1983-01-23) 23 January 1983 (age 31)13France Agen
Nemia SoqetaLock(1985-03-04) 4 March 1985 (age 29)0France Biarritz Olympique
Akapusi Qera (c)Flanker(1984-04-24) 24 April 1984 (age 30)39France Montpellier
Malakai RavuloFlanker(1983-09-22) 22 September 1983 (age 31)27Romania Farul Constanţa
Dominiko WaqaniburotuFlanker(1986-04-20) 20 April 1986 (age 28)16France Brive
Masi MatadigoNumber 8(1982-08-08) 8 August 1982 (age 32)12France Lyon
Nemani NagusaNumber 8(1988-06-21) 21 June 1988 (age 26)6New Zealand Tasman
Nemia KenataleScrum-half(1986-01-21) 21 January 1986 (age 28)28Romania Farul Constanţa
Nikola MatawaluScrum-half(1989-03-08) 8 March 1989 (age 25)19Scotland Glasgow Warriors
Henry SeniloliScrum-half(1989-06-15) 15 June 1989 (age 25)1Italy Benetton Treviso
Josh MatavesiFly-half(1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 (age 28)6Wales Ospreys
Jonetani RaluluFly-half(1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 (age 28)13Romania Farul Constanţa
Vereniki GonevaCentre(1984-04-05) 5 April 1984 (age 30)29England Leicester Tigers
Nemani NadoloCentre(1988-01-31) 31 January 1988 (age 26)15Japan Green Rockets
Asaeli TikoirotumaWing(1986-06-24) 24 June 1986 (age 28)6England Harlequins
Timoci NagusaWing(1987-07-14) 14 July 1987 (age 27)19France Montpellier
Waisea Nayacalevu *Wing(1990-06-26) 26 June 1990 (age 24)5France Stade Français
Alipate RatiniWing(1991-02-17) 17 February 1991 (age 23)0France Grenoble
Samisoni Viriviri *Wing(1988-04-25) 25 April 1988 (age 26)0France Montpellier
Watisoni VotuWing(1985-03-25) 25 March 1985 (age 29)11France Perpignan
Levani BotiaFullback(1988-04-28) 28 April 1988 (age 26)1France La Rochelle
Metuisela TalebulaFullback(1991-05-20) 20 May 1991 (age 23)11France Bordeaux

Individual all-time records[edit]

Most caps[edit]

1.Nicky LittleFly-half1996–2011716011670211714023734052.11
2.Seremaia BaiCentre2000–2013494722955545312523152.04
Jacob RauluniScrum-half1995–2006494093060002623053.06
Joeli VeitayakiProp1994–2003494541530002623053.06
5.Emori KatalauLock1995–2003483992040002523052.08
Sisa KoyamaiboleNumber 82001–20134836121530002126144.79
7.Norman LigairiFullback2000–20104739880160002522053.19
8.Ifereimi TawakeFlanker1986–1999463882540201629135.86
9.Mosese RauluniScrum-half1996–2009443682040002321052.27
Greg SmithHooker1995–200344440510002420054.54

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most tries[edit]

1.Sanivalati LaulauWing1980–1985323208020000
2.Fero LasagavibauWing1997–2002232038016000
Norman LigairiFullback2000–2010473988016000
Viliame SatalaCentre1999–2005292728016000
5.Niki GonevaWing/Centre2007–292457014000
6.Nemani NadoloCentre2010–15141100131050
Aisea TuilevuWing1996–2004191816513000
8.Manasa BariWing1995–1999181446012000
Timoci NagusaWing2008–191726012000
10.2 players on 11 tries

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most points[edit]

1.Nicky LittleFly-half1996–201171601167021171402
2.Seremaia BaiCentre2000–49472295554531
3.Severo KoroduaduaFullback1982–199127270268056475
4.Waisale SereviFly-half1989–20033823152211140273
5.Taniela RawaqaFullback2007–201116124103419150
6.Nemani NadoloCentre2010–1413197121150
7.Fero LasagavibauWing1997–2002232038016000
Sanivalati LaulauWing1980–1985323208020000
Norman LigairiFullback2000–2010473988016000
Viliame SatalaCentre1999–2005292728016000

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most points in a match[edit]

1.Severo KoroduaduaFullback3601800 NiueAmerican Samoa Apia10 September 1983
2.Semesa SikivouScrum-half2711200 Solomon IslandsPapua New Guinea Port Moresby21 August 1969
3.Nicky LittleFly-half250550 ItalyItaly L'Aquila28 August 1999
4.Tevita MakutuWing246000 Papua New GuineaFiji Suva30 August 1979
Sanivalati LaulauWing246000 Solomon IslandsAmerican Samoa Apia8 September 1983
Nicky LittleFly-half240640 Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong29 September 1996
7.Nicky LittleFly-half231340 ItalyFiji Lautoka15 July 2000
Nicky LittleFly-half230170 SamoaJapan Tokyo8 July 2001
9.5 players on 22 points

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most tries in a match[edit]

1.Tevita MakutuWing246000 Papua New GuineaFiji Suva30 August 1979
Sanivalati LaulauWing246000 Solomon IslandsAmerican Samoa Apia8 September 1983
3.George SailosiWing155000 Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea Port Moresby18 August 1969
4.9 players on 4 tries

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most matches as captain[edit]

1.Greg SmithHooker1996–2003301713056.6651000
2.Esala TeleniNumber 81983–198919811042.10287000
3.Mosese RauluniScrum-half2004–200817107058.8251000
4.Deacon ManuProp2010–20121339126.9200000
Akapusi QeraFlanker2011–1394069.23102000
6.Epi BolawaqatabuNumber 81969–19731265154.16217000
7.Alifereti DoviverataNumber 82001–20071147036.3651000
Simon RaiwaluiLock1999–20061174063.6351000
9.Mosese TagaProp1991–19931028020.0000000
Ifereimi TawakeFlanker1991–19981037030.0060020

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Youngest players[edit]

1.Josh MatavesiFullback19 years and 40 days ScotlandScotland Murrayfield14 November 2009
2.Meli RadrekusaLock19 years and 46 days TongaFiji Nadi8 October 1988
3.Nicky LittleFly-half19 years and 131 days South AfricaSouth Africa Pretoria2 July 1996
4.Jone Qovu(Number 8)19 years and 166 days MāoriFiji Suva3 June 2005
5.Fili SeruWing19 years and 308 days TongaTonga Nuku'alofa24 March 1990
6.Rasolosolo BogisaFullback20 years and 4 days JapanJapan Tokyo15 May 1994
7.Jason McLennanScrum-half20 years and 57 days MāoriNew Zealand Christchurch4 June 1994
8.Noa NadrukuCentre20 years and 64 days TongaAmerican Samoa Apia31 May 1988
9.Isoa DomolailaiLock20 years and 159 days ItalyItaly Treviso10 November 2001
10.Max OlssonNumber 820 years and 175 days TongaAmerican Samoa Apia31 May 1988

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Oldest players[edit]

1.Sireli BoboWing38 years and 144 days SamoaFiji Suva21 June 2014
2.Epeli Naituivau(Prop)37 years and 151 days EnglandEngland Twickenham20 October 1999
3.Ifereimi TawakeNumber 837 years and 29 days EnglandEngland Twickenham20 October 1999
4.Joeli VeitayakiProp36 years and 293 days ScotlandAustralia Sydney1 November 2003
5.Inoke MaleNumber 836 years and 36 days SamoaJapan Tokyo8 July 2001
6.Waisale SereviFly-half35 years and 156 days JapanAustralia Townsville23 October 2003
7.Kele LeawereLock35 years and 67 days JapanFiji Suva3 July 2009
8.Nicky LittleFly-half35 years and 19 days WalesNew Zealand Hamilton2 October 2011
9.Ilivasi TabuaFlanker35 years and 16 days FranceFrance Toulouse16 October 1999
10.Bill CavubatiProp35 years and 9 days SamoaFiji Suva30 July 2005

Last updated: Fiji vs Cook Islands, 28 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Notable players[edit]

Nat Uluiviti, who also played for the Fiji national cricket team.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FRU Appoints New Flying Fijians Head Coach
  2. ^ "Test-match di giugno: Italrugby contro Fiji, Samoa e Giappone". 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "World Rankings". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  4. ^ – International Rugby Union Statistics – Statistics for Fiji – Teams Played
  5. ^ Although the New Zealand Maori are not New Zealand's national representative team (see All Blacks) many Test nations award their players Test caps when playing them.
  6. ^ McKee Names Team for 2014 Europe Tour


External links[edit]