SPORTS

Mitre 10 Cup, Super Rugby Players Boost NZ U20 side in Friday’s Opener Against Fiji

“The boys have got through a lot of work together and now they’re ready to finally put to play everything they’ve been running through” the former Flying Fijians captain told FRU Media."
24 Apr 2019 17:13
Mitre 10 Cup, Super Rugby Players Boost NZ U20 side in Friday’s Opener Against Fiji
Vodafone Fijian Under-20 players go through their training drill at Gold Coast, Australia on April 23, 2019. The Kele Leawere- coached side take on New Zealand in the Oceania U20 Championship opener on Friday. Photo: Oceania Rugby

The Vodafone Fijian Under-20 rugby side are looking forward to their clash against New Zealand in the Oceania U20 Championship opener on Friday.

Head coach Kele Leawere said the players have been working hard and are excited that the tournament is about to begin.

“The boys have got through a lot of work together and now they’re ready to finally put to play everything they’ve been running through” the former Flying Fijians captain told FRU Media.

The Fijian U20 thrashed Surfers Paradise club 69-0 in their warm-up match in the weekend.

Leawere knows the first match won’t be a walk in the park for his boys with New Zea­land certain to be chasing a fifth straight Oceania U20 Championship title.

TOP PLAYERS

On paper the Kiwi outfit would be consid­ered the more experienced, with a side that’s littered with Mitre 10 Cup (New Zealand’s top provincial competition) players as well as a couple of Super Rugby squad members and the Fijian Under 20 comprised of vastly development pathway programme players.

However as Leawere points out, the inter­national experience gained by a number of players in the squad through the World Rugby Pacific Challenge and Fijian Warriors tournament will be invaluable to the Fiji as­sault on their first opponents.

“The boys have matured immensely over this preparation block and thanks to the taste for top rugby in the Warriors, and also against the senior Skipper Cup teams, we know they won’t be intimidated coming into this match up.”

New Zealand are expected to bring a swift set piece, a backline looking to execute in combinations, and arguably one of the best U20 front rows in the world, so Fiji will defi­nitely have their work cut out.

Leawere believes whilst the Kiwis might put the Fijian under pressure their level of intensity will be the key as they defend and keep the play out of their 22, playing mature territorial rugby as much as possible.

“Possession should be a key factor in our game to hinder their opportunities and ap­ply early pressure.

“We need to stay close as we know if we feel under pressure and seize up early will always give away tries.

DEFENSIVE STRUCTURE

“If the boys play territory they’re actually taking the game to New Zealand and with a well-structured set piece they can turn the table around.”

Before kick-off on Friday, Fiji will polish up on last minute structure and sharpening their defence, Leawere added.

The match kicks-off at 7pm (Fiji time) and the match will be live streamed on www.rug­by.com.au.

Edited by Grace Narayan

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: