Let’s take a look at the best parts of Day 7 of the Top 14 featuring our players.
Brive and La Rochelle kicked off the round with a tough, close encounter. The match finished 8-6 in favour of La Rochelle who were missing their Fijian centre pairing of Eneriko Buliruarua and Levani Botia. Brive failed to score a try and centre Sevanaia Galala was yellow carded in the 49th minute. Setareki Bituniyata was on the wing and Kitione Kamikamica started at number 8. The versatile back rower should be included in the test squad barring injury or suspension.Embed from Getty Images
Botitu in form
The inside centre position for Fiji will be a tough one for coach Vern Cotter. Vilimoni Botitu threw his hat in the ring with a dominant performance for Castres in their 38-20 win over Biarritz. The Olympic Gold Medallist scored two tries, ran for 66 metres (2 shy of the game high) made 2 clean breaks and beat 4 defenders while making 3 offloads. Cotter would be tempted to start Botitu and his wing partner Filipo Nakosi who ran for the game high 68 metres, making 3 clean breaks while beating 7 defenders and also setting up 1 try. Nakosi himself has been in solid form to start the Top 14 season along with Adrea Cocagi who started the match at outside centre to give Castres an all Fijian centre pairing.Embed from Getty Images
Josaia Raisuqe came off the bench in the 73rd minute and for the final 7 minutes of the match Castres had a Fijian backline of Nakosi, Botitu, Cocagi and Raisuqe.
Biarritz were missing Tevita Kuridrani and Johnny Dyer who missed his first match of the season. Henry Speight however started the match and was substituted early in the 57th minute. Castres move into 5th while Biarritz are pushed to the bottom of the table.
Pau pushed second place Bordeaux right to the final whistle but they fell short 34-38 in a high scoring game. Lekima Tagitagivalu and Jale Vatubua both came off the bench. Aminiasi Tuimaba was not selected. Unclear if he is serving suspension for his red card two weeks ago.
Stade Francais win close encounter
Stade Francais, featuring Waisea Nayacalevu on the wing, scored a 1 point win over Perpignan 23-22. Alivereti Duguivalu scored his first try of the season when he crossed in the 36th minute for Perpignan. Tevita Cavubati did not play for Perpignan likewise Sefa Naivalu who is still away with injury for Stade Francais.Embed from Getty Images
Nayacalevu has shown good form the past month especially since moving to the wing. He made 2 clean breaks, ran for 53 metres with 4 defenders beaten in this match.
Clermont won their 3rd game of the season by beating Montpellier 22-20. Peceli Yato ran for a game high 73 metres off 21 runs. Peni Ravai was also at his usual loose head position while Alivereti Raka missed his first match of the season.
No Josua Vici or Masivesi Dakuwaqa for Montpellier.
In the other matches Leone Nakarawa started in his favoured lock position for Toulon in their 20-27 loss to Racing who were without Virimi Vakatawa and Ben Volavola.
Josua Tuisova made a timely and succesful return from injury for Lyon. He started at 13 against Toulouse and played the whole match. Temo Mayanavanua came off the bench in the 58th minute.
Lyon won the match 25-19. Toulouse were undefeated up until this match. Lyon move into third spot after the win.Embed from Getty Images
There is stiff competition for test spots and one of those is lock. Leone Nakarawa is playing some solid rugby while Tevita Ratuva and Tevita Cavubati have probably been our best up to this point in the Top 14. Throw in Api Ratuniyarawa’s strong form and the young Mayanavanua and you’re going to have form players miss the squad.
That wraps up our review of day 7. Please let us know in the comments below if you caught any of the matches and who you think should be in the test squad.