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McKee Gives Fiji Hi-Tech Mission

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee believes the Pacific islanders could spring a surprise at next year’s World Cup, driven by international exposure and smartphone technology. McKee, who has
04 Nov 2014 10:29
McKee Gives Fiji  Hi-Tech Mission

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee believes the Pacific islanders could spring a surprise at next year’s World Cup, driven by international exposure and smartphone technology.

McKee, who has only been in charge since May, is currently undergoing an exhausting European trip assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a side who will face France and Wales this month.

The clash with the Welsh will be a World Cup dress rehearsal as the two countries are in Pool A at the 2015 global showpiece along with Australia, England and Uruguay.

“To qualify for the quarterfinals of the World Cup is something which would be a surprise, but why not?” McKee told AFP.

“But for me as a coach my philosophy on where I want to be is to be competitive with the Tier 1 countries, and in one, two or three years to see Fiji go and play England, France or Ireland not as a Tier 2 against a Tier 1 country.”

With so many of Fiji’s best players enjoying lucrative club contracts in Europe – in particular, in the money-spinning French Top 14 – McKee has turned to technology to give him an extra edge.

“It can be tricky to keep track of our players in France and in the UK while we live in the southern hemisphere. I am spending more time travelling. I came to Europe in April – I went to Clermont, Brive, Toulouse.

“We’ll do it again in March. I want to see the clubs as well, not just the players, to build some relationships.”

Smartphones are employed to provide finger-tip hints on fitness levels on those players plying their trade in Europe.

“With my senior players, we are working with Skype conference calls and we have a database system where they enter their information – if they have new injuries, they tell us how they are sleeping, what their energy levels are like,” explained McKee.

The New Zealander has had plenty of experience in Europe – from 2000-2002 he was in charge of Clermont and took them to the French championship final.

He believes two of his most crucial tasks will be developing Fijian skills outside of their traditional excellence on the wings, at half-back and in the backrow.

McKee also wants Fijians playing for Fiji by implementing a long-term plan which will convince them not to jump into the arms of the All Blacks.



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