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Why Pacific Nations Cup Match Vital For Vodafone Flying Fijians

Why Pacific Nations Cup Match Vital For Vodafone Flying Fijians
Flying Fijian Nikola Matawalu (with ball) during team training in Suva on May 31, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
July 03
11:00 2017

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has selected a powerful 28-member squad to the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

Their campaign starts on Saturday in the Pacific Nations Cup clash against Tonga at the Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa before facing Samoa on July 15 at Apia Park, Samoa.

The Akapusi Qera captained-side, even after their 27-22 win over Scotland at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, two weeks ago, were not carried away because they know of the task that is before them.

Now it’s even tougher – the Tongans after their 30-26 win over Samoa last Saturday are on a high. Playing in front of their 10,000 vocal fans they fought tooth and nail to grab the win.

This surely has lifted the morale of the Toutai Kefu-coached side as they have also drawn level with Samoa on five points in the standings. They are now three points behind the Flying Fijians.

A win over the Flying Fijians could place them at the top of the standings and a chance to top Oceania in the RWC qualifiers.

Then that’s not all for our Flying Fijians as they travel to Apia next to face Samoa who are still licking their wounds and will be out to restore lost pride.

The Samoans are desperate for a win after losses to the All Blacks, Wales and Tonga.

This is a crucial moment for our Flying Fijians and today they are having a training run in the West before flying out tomorrow.

The team need all the support they can get from us for the qualifiers.

A hand shake, a tap on their shoulders, a few encouraging words or even a short prayer is what they need as they gear up for battle.

So far, they’ve done the country proud as they are at the top of the table on eight points after winning both of their matches last year. They only need a win to be in the driving seat to qualify as Oceania’s number 1 and join Australia, Wales and Georgia in Pool D at the World Cup.

This is not an impossible task. We’ve already beaten Tonga and Samoa in front of their fans and we can do it again. The side only needs a win on Saturday to confirm their ticket to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

With that done- it’s best to let Tonga and Samoa fight for the second spot to be Oceania’s number 2 and go into a tougher RWC pool where they face England, France and Argentina.

The third placed Oceania team will go into a playoff against a second tier European team for a spot in Pool B where they take on New Zealand and South Africa.

Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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