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Pacific Nations Cup Expected To Bring Challenges

Pacific Nations Cup Expected To Bring Challenges
The Georgian Lelos rugby team arriving at Nadi International Airport on June 2, 2018 for the Pacific Nations Cup. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
June 04
15:23 2018

This is an important competition for all four teams with the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan in mind.

The Pacific Nations Cup 2018 was launched last Thursday.

The Georgian, Samoan and Tongan Test sides have arrived into the country ready to take on our Fiji Airways Flying Fijians.

In a revised format from World Rugby – Fiji, Tonga, Sa­moa and Georgia will each play two games in Suva be­tween June 9 and 23, with the overall winner determined by which team scores the most competition points.

The Flying Fijians have won the past three editions of the PNC.

They begin their title defence against Samoa on Satur­day, who will now take a full part in the annual compe­tition, after their World Cup qualifying playoff was de­layed by three weeks.

This is an important competition for all four teams with the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan in mind.

For the Flying Fijians, apart from our Pacific rivals Tonga and Samoa- playing Georgia is very critical in our preparations.

This is because we are in the same pool at the 2019 World Cup along with Australia, Wales and Uruguay.

Although we are ranked ahead of them we still cannot underestimate the Georgians. They are powerful in the scrums and we’ve not a so convincing record against them when it comes to Test rugby.

Nicknamed the The Lelos, we first met them in 2012 in Tbilisi where we won 24-19.

However, they turned the table on us in 2016 with a 14-3 win at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

The Georgians are not going to be a pushover. Despite being considered a second tier rugby union nation they are one of the world’s fastest growing rugby nations.

The Lelos participated in the Rugby Europe Champion­ship, winning the tournament in 2001, 2008- 2009, 2011-2016 and again this year.

The bulk of their national squad are players based in France playing in both the Top 14 and lower divisions.

Georgia’s coach Milton Haig has declared their inten­tion that they are here to repeat the 2016 feat.

The challenge is there for the Flying Fijians. However they need to take care of Samoa first before they turn their attention to The Lelos who are going to play Tonga on the same day.

For Fijian rugby fans this is the time that they should come out in numbers to support our Flying Fijians.

Let’s be there in big numbers for the Akapusi Qera-captained side that has done us proud by qualifying to the 2019 RWC as Oceania’s No.1 and for beating Tier 1 nations Italy and Scotland last year.

All our Fiji Airways Flying Fijians stars like Europe’s best Leone Nakarawa, Nemani Nadolo, Campese Ma’afu, Vereniki Goneva, Manasa Saulo, Peni Ravai, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Ben Volavola, Benito Masilevu and Jale Vatubua and so on are also here. We should be there at the ground to cheer them on.

Go Fiji ,Go. Toso Viti.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

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