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Fiji and Samoa in rugby action this weekend

Manu Samoa on the training ground.
Photo: Manu Samoa Facebook

This weekend the international rugby calendar gets back in earnest, with Samoa, both Fiji national teams and the All Blacks in action.

On Friday evening, Manu Samoa will face Italy in Apia Park.

Theo McFarland will captain the team on Matchday 23, which includes five players without international experience: Marco Fepuleai, Murphy Taramai, Sebastion Visinia, Lolani Faleiva and Afa Moleli.

The Fijiana and the Flying Fijians are both in action on Saturday.

Flying Fijians coach Mick Byrne has named four debutants in the lineup for the match against Georgia on Saturday morning.

FBC Kitione Salawa, Peni Dakuwaqa and Inia Tabuavou will reportedly start, while Elia Canakaivata will come off the bench.

Earlier this week, Byrne said preparation had been good and the Georgian people had behaved “excellently”.

The two teams will meet at the Adjarabet Arena on Saturday at 4 a.m. Fiji time.

The Fijiana will face the Wallaroos in Sydney this evening.

Fijiana XV coach Mosese Rauluni said his players had improved since the series against Japan last month, but only time will tell when they face the Wallaroos.

The team has lost once and won once against Japan and will now face Australia at the Allianz Stadium.

Rauluni said that although the Wallaroos had problems, the Fijiana should not take them lightly.

“We have to stay on task,” he said.

“The girls have been training well; they have improved a lot since the Japan game.”

He said the Wallaroos were going through a period of change, similar to the Fijiana.

“This team is a force to be reckoned with… They have lost all their friendlies so far, but they will still be strong.”

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson.

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz

Also on Saturday, the All Blacks will play against England in Dunedin, their first game under new head coach Scott Robertson.

Robertson has chosen Damian McKenzie in the front five rather than former World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett, with Blues Super Rugby winner Stephen Perofeta at full-back.

Robertson said Perofeta's recent accomplishments could not be ignored.

“A guy who is in form. Good with the high ball. Plays great football. Just two weeks ago he was on par in the (Super Rugby) final in a test match and Beauden can play his part in that by covering the 10 and 15.”

The Wallabies will start their 2024 season at Allianz Stadium against Wales, a doubleheader featuring Fijiana-Wallaroos.

The U20 Cup, the second-tier competition, will also continue. Samoa will play against Japan early on Monday morning.

Rugby kick-off times (all times NZT):

Friday:

Samoa – Italy, Apia Park, 16:00

Saturday:

Georgia – Fiji, Adjarabet Arena, 4am

USA – Romania, SeatGeek Stadium, 12pm

Australia – Fiji (Women), Allianz Stadium, 17:55

New Zealand – England, Forsyth Barr Stadium, 18:05

Australia – Wales, Allianz Stadium, 8:45 p.m.

Japan – Maori All Blacks, City of Toyota Stadium, 9pm

Sunday:

South Africa – Ireland, Loftus Versfeld, 3am

Argentina – France, Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, 7:00 a.m.

Chile – Hong King China, Estadio Fiscal, 7:00 a.m.

Canada – Scotland, TD Place Stadium, 9am