Nine rookies in Fiji preliminary World Cup squad
Fiji on Wednesday named nine uncapped players including free-scoring Toulon winger Filipo Nakosi in their preliminary squad for this year's World Cup.
Nakosi, who has dotted down on 10 occasions in 18 games for the French club this season, is joined by fellow new faces in front-rowers Mesulame Dolokoto, Luke Tagi, Tuvere Veremalua, loose forwards Johnny Dyer, Temo Mayanavanua, Jale Railala and backs Peni Matawalu and Apisai Naqalevu.
There was no place for experienced wingers Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa who both play for French club Montpellier as they announced their international retirements in February.
The likes of Clermont's Naqalevu, Peceli Yato and Setareki Tuicuvu, Toulouse's Sam Matavesi, Racing 92's Leone Nakarawa and Ben Volavola as well as La Rochelle pair Levani Botia and Kiri Murimurivalu could be late joining up with the national team due to their club commitments.
"I expect by the second week of June nearly all the players will be back with the exception of any French players whose teams progress deep into finals," head coach John McKee said.
McKee said the list of players wasn't final and individuals could be added later on.
"Players can be included at any time based on them showing outstanding form and fitness level," he said.
The 50-man squad will be reduced to 38 ahead of two matches against the Maori All Blacks on July 13 and July 20.
Fiji start their World Cup campaign against two-time former champions Australia on September 21 before facing Georgia, Wales and Uruguay in Pool D.
Fiji preliminary World Cup squad:
Forwards (27): Leeroy Atalifo, Mesulame Dolokoto, Sunia Koto, Campese Ma'afu, Sam Matavesi, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Luke Tagi, Kalivati Tawake, Joeli Veitayaki, Tuvere Veremalua, Tevita Cavubati, Johnny Dyer, Semi Kunatani, Temo Mayanavanua, Viliame Mata, Sikeli Nabou, Leone Nakarawa, Nemani Nagusa, Jale Railala, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Albert Tuisue, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato
Backs (23): Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Peni Matawalu, Henry Seniloli, Seru Vularika, Levani Botia, Sevanaia Galala, Josh Matavesi, Alivereti Veitokani, Jale Vatubua, Ben Volavola, Vereniki Goneva, Benito Masilevu, Kini Murimurivalu, Filipo Nakosi, Apisai Naqalevu, Waisea Nayacalevu, Patrick Osbourne, Semi Radradra, Eroni Sau, Metuisela Talebula, Josua Tuisova, Setareki Tuicuvu
? 2019 AFP