AAP Rugby

Radradra on Fiji wing to face Wallabies

By AAP Newswire

The Wallabies will make sure they remind Reece Hodge what he's up against after the winger drew the short straw of marking Fijian dynamo Semi Radradra in their opening World Cup pool game.

Fiji played a trump card in announcing their team for Saturday's match in Sapporo by shifting the explosive Radradra to the left wing.

It's the same position where the former rugby league star was a five-season NRL sensation for Parramatta, scoring 82 tries in 94 games until 2017.

All of the 27-year-old's Test rugby appearances have been at outside centre and he has been primarily used there at French club Bordeaux.

Hodge's inclusion on the Wallabies right wing places him in the hot seat and team-mate Matt Toomua joked he'll need a crash course in defensive play

"We'll be sending him his (Radradra's) highlights from his Eels days and letting him know he's got his hands full," Toomua smiled.

"I think there's a few guys who will have their hands full out there, especially individually.

"We've got to hunt in packs, I guess, that'll be our best chance of limiting their opportunities."

Fiji coach John McKee has made the switch to accommodate another French-based star, Waisea Nayacalevu, in the No.13 jersey.

It means a demotion to the reserve bench for Fiji's record try-scorer Vereniki Goneva, the 35-year-old winger who has crossed 22 times, including when Fiji last faced Australia two years ago.

While the Flying Fijians were well beaten in Melbourne, the world's ninth-ranked team have since made strides, notching Test wins over Italy, Scotland and a first-ever defeat of France in Paris last November.

A fearsome-looking backline is served by a pack laced with players hardened from experience in the European club top flight.

All five players who are at their third tournament are in the 23, including No.8 Viliame Mata and lock Leone Nakarawa, both rated among Europe's premier forwards.

That pair won sevens gold at the Rio Olympics, along with Josua Tuisova, who is on the right wing.

Sydney-born Ben Volavola will be familiar to the Wallabies, the French-based five-eighth having played Super Rugby for the Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels.

Prop Campese Ma'afu is the younger brother of former Australian prop Salesi Ma'afu and is named after former Wallabies great David Campese following his starring role on the 1984 Grand Slam tour of Europe.

FIJI:

Kini Murimurivalu, Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu, Levani Botia, Semi Radradra, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani, Viliame Mata, Peceli Yato, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt), Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Cavubati, Peni Ravai, Sam Matavesi, Campese Ma'afu. Res: Veremalua Vugakoto, Eroni Mawi, Manasa Saulo, Tevita Ratuva, Mosese Voka, Nikola Matawalu, Alivereti Veitokani, Vereniki Goneva.