Although the Flying Fijians have slipped outside the top ten in the IRB rankings they are confident of rattling a few reputations at the World Cup.
Fiji have had a troubled build-up to their sixth World Cup with politics, form and injuries dropping them to a current 12th ranking behind regional rivals Samoa at 10.
Renowned for their Sevens' virtuosity, the Fijians have had a tough time matching it with their better-resourced rivals at the World Cup and have yet to get past the quarterfinal stage which they managed at the 1987 and 2007 showpieces.
It has been far from a smooth lead-up to Fiji's opening Pool D game against Namibia in Rotorua on September 10.
Fiji backed down from a political confrontation with the New Zealand government by excluding Leone Nakarawa, a 23-year-old soldier, from playing against the All Blacks in Dunedin in late July.
New Zealand have barred entry into their country for Fijians with military or government ties as part of sanctions imposed following the 2006 coup when military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama seized control of the Pacific nation.
The IRB had been trying to resolve the impasse but an accomodation was eventually found when Nakarawa agreed to resign his army commission prior to the tournament.
Fiji, unable to get a release of their players from Northern Hemisphere clubs and stymied by the New Zealand travel ban, were hammered 60-14 by the All Blacks.
The Fijians also lost the Pacific Nations Cup to Japan 24-13 to an injury-time bonus point try in Lautoka in July. They paid dearly for a lack of discipline with three yellow cards and two reds, allowing Japan to take advantage of the numerical imbalance.
This month Fiji beat regional rivals Tonga 27-12 three tries to two in Lautoka to round off the World Cup preparations.
Fiji had a memorable last World Cup pulling off a stunning 38-34 pool win over Wales after securing wins over Japan (35-31) and Canada (29-16).
Then they clawed back a 13-point deficit against South Africa in their quarterfinal with two converted tries when down to 14 men only to succumb to the Springboks' superior tactical nous and forward power in a 37-20 loss.
High performance manager Talemo Waqa said Fiji faced a similar scenario prior to the 2007 World Cup where they made their presence felt.
"Fiji were ranked 13th in July 2007, after their losses to Tonga and the Wallabies," Waqa said.
"Then look what happened in the 2007 RWC. We will take it in our stride and keep moving towards the set objective. It (the ranking) has not made the players and management from losing focus. The players are motivated by them," he warned.
Once again Fiji will look to their sizeable Northern Hemisphere contingent of stars, including captain and prop Deacon Manu (Scarlets), lock Akapusi Qera (Gloucester), flyhalf Nicky Little (Bristol), No.8 Sisa Koyamaibole (Sale) and inside centre Seremaia Bai (Castres).
The 42-year-old Domoni who played six internationals for Fiji at lock before a stint with the Waratahs, replaced Ilivasi Tabua in 2009 on the strength of his expertise in rugby technology and came recommended by the Australian Rugby Union. He has concentrated on monitoring the players' fitness levels. "They can travel from the other side of the globe but they still have to pass the fitness test. It is a very busy year and there is no room for passengers," he said.
Bai, 32, is an experienced inside back with almost 50 Tests and spent four seasons with Clermont Auvergne helping them win France's Top 14 title before linking up with Castres. He was a member of Fiji's team that shocked Wales at the 2007 World Cup in Cardiff before playing at flyhalf in the quarterfinal defeat to South Africa.
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