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McKee On 2019 World Cup

McKee On 2019 World Cup
Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee at the Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa, Tonga on July 8, 2017. Photo: Atama Tamanilo
July 15
11:00 2017


After qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the Vodafone Flying Fijians have set targets for the next two years. We caught up with the man who is working hard behind the scenes plotting our campaign to the World Cup, head coach John McKee and captain Akapusi Qera.

Vodafone Flying Fijians captain Akapusi Qera leads the team to the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier against Tonga on July 8, 2017. Photo: Atama Tamanilo

Vodafone Flying Fijians captain Akapusi Qera leads the team to the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier against Tonga on July 8, 2017. Photo: Atama Tamanilo

Here is what they say;


SUN: What is the next step for the Vodafone Flying Fijians after the Pacific Nations Cup leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

MCKEE: We have the November tour, we play Italy, Ireland and Canada so moving towards that but we need to really review our performance throughout this campaign and really look at our players. What we really intend to do now is stay in contact with our players a lot which is very important between assemblies.

So there will be some pressure on the players to meet certain marks around their particular skills that they need to work on. The reason for this is because we need to have the best possible players who play their positions really well. So that, when we come into the next campaign the boys will be able to take it a step up from the current campaign that we are on.


SUN: How important will it be to play Tier 1 nations in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup?

MCKEE: The test matches that we play are set by World Rugby but I’m assured we will get to play a number of Tier 1 nations. We’ve got two Tier 1 tests in November and we’ll have the same in November of next year so we will get a good schedule of Tier 1 tests.

I think it is very important that we play Tier 1 teams because when we go to the World Cup we need to beat Tier 1 teams if we want to progress to the playoffs. So by playing Tier 1 nations in our build-up preparations we will be able to consistently play at that level which is where we need to be.


SUN: What else does the team need to focus on other than being at that top level playing Tier 1 nations?

MCKEE: We’ve got a lot of work to do, I think we are at a certain level now that we know to achieve high goals in the World Cup, we need to be better.

It is about everything that we do around our playing style and making sure our players have got the skills to play the game and the fitness as well.

But it is also how we plan around our campaign, all our camps and off field things and we’ve got lots of work to do because we want to achieve really high goals on the field.


SUN: As captain of the Flying Fijians who has vast experience playing in the World Cups- from a player’s point of view, what do the boys need to focus on now after the PNC?

QERA: We are trying to build a team and progressing in every game that we play and that is the most important thing.

After this we have the November tour up next and with the selection of the players I know players will want to fight their way back in.

I want to thank all the supporters around Fiji and the world for keeping their faith in the Flying Fijians team.

I know there has been a mixture of young players but the boys managed to fight through against Tonga and secure our spot in the next World Cup.

Qualifying was a major milestone for us but that is only half the work done. We need to work extra harder now to get into the team and for these boys to prove themselves.

So I just want to thank all our families for being there for us throughout this tough number of weeks.

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