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Testing Times

Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee is expecting some “very challenging games” in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup over the next few weeks as he looks to continue preparations
13 Jul 2015 10:14
Testing Times
Vodafone FLying Fijians winger Nemani Nadolo. Photo: Rama

Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee is expecting some “very challenging games” in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup over the next few weeks as he looks to continue preparations ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The Flying Fijians will open their bid for a second PNC title in three years against Tonga in Suva this Saturday before flying to North America to tackle Samoa in Sacramento and then Japan in Toronto with a further match in Burnaby on finals day.

“I’m expecting three very challenging games,” admitted McKee, whose side have the honour of playing against England in the opening match of RWC 2015 on September 19.

“Tonga always have a very strong squad in RWC year and there is a fierce rivalry between the two countries on the rugby field.

“Samoa showed what a strong team they are in their strong performance against the All Blacks. Japan are the big improvers in the Pacific region with some very impressive results over the past 12 months.

 

Passionate Fijian fans

“The PNC is a very important competition for Fiji as it gives us challenging competition in each June window – or in this RWC year in July – important for developing our players and national team for the RWC competitions.

“Player’s development at this level takes place over a number of years and the PNC gives us an opportunity to build our game and playing combinations. It is also an opportunity for our home fans to see the Flying Fijians at home in action.

“Fijian fans are very passionate and give great support to their team. This can give the players an extra boost in games. The players all enjoy returning to Fiji from their overseas clubs as well so playing at home is very important to us.”

 

Building towards RWC 2015

“The NZ Maori game is great to kick off our 2015 programme. Having this game and the extra week’s training will be of great benefit for us going into the PNC.”

While the 15s side would clearly love to bring more success to Fiji on the back of those by the men’s and women’s sevens sides in recent months, McKee is looking to take each match one by one as they continue to build towards RWC 2015 in England where the Flying Fijians will also face Australia, Wales and Uruguay in Pool A.

“Without getting too far ahead of ourselves in terms of our ambitions we must focus on the challenge of each match.

“Test match rugby requires strong set play at scrum and lineout and I see the effectiveness at the ruck area as being crucial throughout this series to enable us to build pressure in attack and win turnovers in defence.

“Managing our recovery and workloads will also be important with the travel and short turnarounds between games.

“These games are important in developing our game plan, team systems and combinations towards RWC. I will be looking for our players to be able to play with patience, execute skills and keep clear heads under the pressure of test match rugby.”

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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