From Josh Adams's positional switch to Fiji's danger men out wide, here's what you need to know about Sunday's match
Wales v Fiji Preview – Autumn Internationals
Wales and Fiji have become familiar foes in more recent years. They have already played twice as many Tests this century as last, have been in the same pool in the last four Rugby World Cups – and have been drawn together for France 2023 as well!
Wales dominate the stats having won ten of their 12 Tests, including their most recent meeting in 2019, but Fiji did famously beat them at RWC 2007 and the hosts will be wary of the threats their opponents possess, particularly with Josua Tuisova and Eroni Sau on the wings.
Wales struggled to make an impact with their carrying game against New Zealand and South Africa so far this autumn, so will be looking to make gains in that area, particularly against a defence that has a tackle success rate of less than 80% in their last three Tests against Tier One opposition.
While Wales come into the Sunday afternoon match at the Principality Stadium on the back of two defeats, Fiji recovered from a half-time deficit to beat Spain 43-13 in their opening November Test.
Wales are the favourites but expect Fiji to test the hosts with their varied attack – here’s what you need to know in our Wales v Fiji preview.
What is the big Wales v Fiji team news?
Wayne Pivac has made six changes to the team that lost to South Africa. In the backs, Liam Williams is at full-back ahead of Johnny McNicholl, Johnny Williams starts at centre in place of Nick Tompkins, Alex Cuthbert comes in on the wing and Kieran Hardy will wear the No 9 shirt.
There was originally just one change up front with Thomas Young starting at flanker and his fellow back-rower Ellis Jenkins, so impressive on his international comeback last weekend, captaining the team.
However, there has been a late change with Tomas Francis ruled out due to a concussion suffered in training. WillGriff John will now start at tighthead and Dillon Lewis comes onto the bench.
Perhaps most intriguing is the positional switch of Josh Adams from wing to outside-centre. Adams has become one of Wales’ most important players in recent years, with his finishing ability and aerial skills standouts, but Pivac is keen to see what he can do closer to the action.
They tried it in the second half against South Africa with a back-line reshuffle and Adams now gets a start in the No 13 shirt, with Pivac keen to increase players’ versatility ahead of the World Cup. George North was also being tried in that No 13 channel before injury.
There are half-a-dozen changes to the Fiji line-up that beat Spain, with plenty of experience coming into the starting XV in Peni Ravai, Api Ratuniyarawa and Vilimae Mata up front as well as Frank Lomani, Josua Tuisova and Eroni Sau amongst the backs.
They will surely be looking to test Adams’s defence in his new centre role, with Tuisova particularly dangerous as he is in brilliant form this season.
There are possible debutants from the bench in both teams – Christ Tshiunza for Wales and Zuriel Togiatama and Apisai Naqalevu for Fiji.
What have the coaches said?
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “Fiji are big, powerful and very quick out wide. The introduction of Alex Cuthbert, along with Louis Rees-Zammit, is an eye on the speed that the Fijians will bring and we need to be able to match that. The offloading game that they bring is certainly different to the South Africans.
“They are a good side. They’re a much-improved side of some of the Fiji teams of old, certainly since when I was involved with Fiji they’ve come a long.”
Fiji head coach Vern Cotter (he is not on the tour but is working with the coaches): “We should get away with the mindset of just competing with these teams but actually playing to beat them. We are working on the skills and on what we can do to become a more resilient opposition and learn to win.
“I hope we could get clarity in our set-piece, get game lines off our carries and I hope defensively we defend well.”
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
The match will kick off at 3.15pm on Sunday 14 November at the Principality stadium.
Referee Nic Berry, assistants Ben O’Keeffe and Gianluca Gnecchi, and TMO Stuart Terheege will take charge of the match.
Wales v Fiji will be available to watch live on Amazon Prime Video, with both English and Welsh language coverage available.
Related: Autumn Nations Series TV coverage
What are the line-ups?
Wales: Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Josh Adams, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit; Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Carré, Ryan Elias, WillGriff John, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Ellis Jenkins (captain), Thomas Young, Taine Basham.
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Christ Tshiunza, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins
Fiji: Setareki Tuicuvu; Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu, Vilimoni Botitu, Eroni Sau; Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani; Peni Ravai, Sam Matavesi, Mesake Doge, Api Ratuniyarawa, Temo Mayanavanua, Albert Tuisue, Mesulame Kunavula, Vilimae Mata.
Replacements: Zuriel Togiatama, Eroni Mawi, Leeroy Atalifo, Tevita Ratuva, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Nikola Matawalu, Apisai Naqalevu, Aminiasi Tuimaba.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.