Rugby World Cup: Bill Mata handed starting role for Fiji's opener against Australia

Edinburgh fans' favourite Viliame "Big Bill" Mata will start at Number 8 for Fiji against Australia in their Rugby World Cup opener in Sapporo.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 4:58 pm
Viliame Mata will start for Fiji in their World Cup opener against Australia

The 29-year-old, who helped the islanders to Olympic gold in 2016, will win his 14th cap for John McKee's side on Saturday.

Mata is joined in the back-row by captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu at blindside, and Clermont's Peceli Yato at openside.

Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Niko Matawalu is named among the replacements while former Scotstoun lock Leone Nakarawa also starts for Fiji.

Nakarawa is one of four players in the starting line-up competing in a third World Cup, alongside Campese Ma'afu, Kini Murimurivalu and Waqaniburotu.

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Should veteran wing Vereniki Goneva - the oldest member of the squad - come off the bench, he will be the fifth.

The match is a repeat of a pool stage game during the 2015 World Cup, which Australia won 28-13.