La Rochelle’s Lepani Botia starts at inside centre in place of Gabiriele Lovobalavu and Nemia Kenatale comes in at scrum-half for Nikola Matawalu who has a back problem.
And to compound matters giant wing Nemani Nadolo was banned for a risky tackle against the Wallabies and will sit out the Cardiff clash.
A win against Wales in the morning is a must to keep Fiji’s faint hopes of making the playoffs alive. “He is one of our consistent kickers and he has big boots to fill, but I know the other boys have an opportunity, and they will grab it with both hands”.
But that scenario will not stop the South Sea Islanders, who knocked Wales out of the 2007 World Cup following a thrilling pool stage win in Nantes, from trying to push Sam Warburton’s team all the way.
The absence of Matawalu is the third major blow for the Fijians who lost quicksilver wing Waisea Nayacalevu to a knee injury in the defeat to Australia ruling the Stade Francais speed merchant out for the rest of the tournament.
Speaking at a press conference in Swansea in Wales, McKee said Fiji rugby was in talks with World Rugby to make this possible.
“It’s something we all need to be aware of because it’s a pretty brutal game at the moment and it’s important that we consider and look after the welfare of our players too”, he said.
“One of the things that really showed against England was the tremendous spirit they have in that team, and the fight to get a result”.
“To play England, Australia and Wales in 13 days is a very, very tough task for any team in world rugby and it’s an absolute credit to this squad and all the players we’ve got, the support team and coaching staff how we’ve stood up and been so competitive”.
FIJI head coach John McKee insists his side are a more potent unit now than when they last faced Wales 10 months ago, a game which saw Warren Gatland’s outfit suffer an almighty scare. But he is still able to name the most experienced Fiji team ever to play in a World Cup, with a combined 392 caps.