Picked in Pool A  (aka the Pool of Death) alongside England, Wales, Australia and Uruguay, Fiji face some tough pool matches, but never underestimate the Fijian side. They have proved they are capable of beating some of the best sides when given space.  None of the “big 3” in Pool A can be complacent when faced with this vibrant exciting team. If anyone takes their eye off the ball, expect an upset in one of those three matches.  They have beaten the Samoan team recently that gave the All Blacks something to worry about only a couple of weeks beforehand.  These will be matches to enjoy watching!  October 10th is Fiji Day, so the team will be hoping for a place beyond the pool matches after their last match against Uruguay.

Captain: Akapusi Qera

Player to Watch: Vereniki Goneva, who has shown his style and capabilities at scoring tries as seen by winning top try scorer in the Aviva Premiership  in 2013 / 2014. Whilst playing at Leicester Tigers he also won player of the year and had a good season with them last season.

Dates of Pool Matches:

Friday 18th September vs England – Kick off 20.00 – Twickenham

Wednesday 23rd September vs Australia – Kick off 16.45 – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Thursday 1st October vs Wales – Kick off 16.45 – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Tuesday 6th October vs Uruguay – Kick off 20.00 – Stadium mk, Milton Keynes

For more information on Fiji Rugby: http://www.fijirugby.com

For full details of the Rugby World Cup 2015 follow: http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/

 

What to Eat & Drink whilst watching Fiji

Food:  Thanks to the clear waters that surround Fiji, their cuisine features lots of fish and seafood. Octopus and sea urchin to name but a few. They match these with sweet potatoes, cassava and are large producers of Taro (potato like root with purple-ish colour).  Fiji experienced a large Indian migration, which means that today its cuisine differs to its neighbouring countries in the presence of curries and spice in Fijian-Indo cuisine.  If you want to impress on match day, rather than a standard BBQ in the garden, build yourself a Lovo. Literally meaning “feast cooked in the earth”, dig a hole in the earth (ask Chief gardener of the household’s permission first!), line with coconut husks, light and cover with stone.  Then lay meat or fish that wrapped in banana leaves on top. Two to three hours later you should have smoky tender food to enjoy with a pre match beer!

Drink:

Beer:  The most sold beer by far in Fiji is Fiji bitter followed by Fiji Gold. Both are available on line at http://fijistore.co.uk. They also list some unusual Burger flavoured UFO crisps – but I am not sure how traditional they are! Also look out for Vonu lager from Fiji, and each bottle you buy helps protect a species of local Turtle!

Wine: Right this is where things become a little tenuous! As Fiji, nor Tonga or Samoa are suitable for wine making (well from local proper vines anyway!), this section proves a bit of a challenge.  So I have taken the letters of each country to find a wine somewhere in the world that has a (sort of!) link to the Pacific islands – even if it’s only that it comes from New Zealand, which has such strong links with them –  and at the same time, hope you discover some more unusual wines.

 

F is for Frappato.  A lovely  red grape variety from Sicily (which is as Fiji, of volcanic soil in places). http://www.marksandspencer.com have an appealing easy quaffing example (which should we have an Indian summer, would even bear chilling slightly) at £8.50. Lovely raspberry notes balanced with good acidity to make ideal uncomplicated wine to sip but not distract from the match!

I is for Inzolia – staying with Sicily, this is the alternative name for Ansonica, and there is a wonderful example of this grape variety in Donnafugata’s Vigna di Gabri.  £18.95 might make it a little pricey to quaff whilst watching the match – but great one for celebrating if (when!) Fiji make it through to the qualifying rounds. http://www.slurp.co.uk

J is for Juice – (I know not a wine either but started reading about this and became intrigued) more specifically Noni Juice, from the greenish white Noni fruit that grows on Fiji. Sadly without ordering it from Australia on line, I cannot find a UK source for it – shame as it’s medicinal benefits sound incredible!

I is for Itata – as in Valley in the very south of Chile, so try De Martino Gallardia del Itata. Made from mostly the Cinsault grape, this peppery red is easy drinking and uncomplicated. Made by the brilliant wine maker Marcelo Retamal. £8.75 from – http://www.thewinesociety.com