Former All Blacks, Seta Tamanivalu is one of ten potential players to debut for the Flying Fijians squad at the Pacific Nations Cup.
Tamanivalu is the first Fijian player to join the Flying Fijians following the change in World Rugby eligibility rules in November 2021.
The squad also includes 16 players from the Fijian Drua, who will feature alongside other Super Rugby Pacific and Europe-based stars for their country.
“It’s very exciting and a real honour for us to present the first Flying Fijians squad of 2022 to the Fijian people”, Flying Fijians 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.”
Robust loose forward Levani Botia, fresh from winning the European Champions Cup with La Rochelle, returns to captain the Flying Fijians after last leading them during the All Blacks test series in July 2021. The squad features 321 caps in total.
An all-Drua halfback trio of Frank Lomani, Simione Kuruvoli and Peni Matawalu have been named in the squad, with 42-cap Flying Fijians general Ben Volavola (Racing 92) and the returning Teti Tela (Fijian Drua) as flyhalfs.
Competing for a spot in the centres in the matchday 23 will be the Japan-based Tamanivalu (Toshiba), Vilimoni Botitu (Castres), experienced campaigner Waisea Nayacalevu (Stade Francais) and breakout Fijian Drua stars Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota.
Droasese, Habosi, Vota, Ravouvou, Tamanivalu, Matawalu, Nasove, Cirikidaveta, Rotuisolia and Nasilasila are the 10 players in line for potential Flying Fijians debut in July.
Players not considered for selection due to injuries and rehabilitation are Semi Radradra, Peceli Yato, Viliame Mata, Meli Derenalagi, Kitione Salawa, Vilive Miramira, Samu Tawake and Peni Ravai.
Flying Fijians July Squad
Loose Head Prop
Haereiti Hetet & Eroni Mawi
Sam Matavesi, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesulame Dolokoto
Tight Head Prop
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
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
The Pacific Nations Cup will be played over three weekends in July, as follows:
Saturday 2 July, ANZ Stadium, Suva:
Saturday 9 July, Churchill Park, Lautoka:
Saturday 16 July, Churchill Park, Lautoka: