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McKee: Path To 2019 RWC

  Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has outlined his plans on how we are going to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Speaking to SUNsports,
30 Mar 2016 14:27
McKee: Path To 2019 RWC
Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee. Photo: Zimbio

 

Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has outlined his plans on how we are going to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Speaking to SUNsports, McKee said he would start by keeping an eye on some members of the Telecom Fijian Warriors squad as he prepares to build-up his team for the test matches in June.

The Fijian Warriors showed impressive form during the World Rugby Pacific Challenge but McKee says, he will need to monitor their performance more during the Skipper Cup in order to see if they are ready for such a step.

“I am doing this to make an assessment as to whether they are ready to step up to full international level,” he said.

“We will start to look at the Flying Fijians squad with one eye towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup and I will look to introduce some younger players across the June and November test series in 2016.”

He said the Flying Fijians’ first priority is to qualify for the 2019 RWC in Japan and in order to do that they must be the top team in the Pacific in order to gain direct qualification.

“The first stage of qualification will be across the PNC in 2016 and 2017. The top Number One and Two teams will gain direct entry into the RWC,” he said.

“The third team will have to go through a repechage series and we do not want that, we want to finish off as the top Pacific island teams.”

Apart from Tonga and Samoa, Georgia will be their third test series which McKee said would not be an easy challenge.

“The Georgia test will be an important challenge for us with Georgia showing very good form in the RWC. They were also unbeaten throughout the European Nations Cup and that speaks volumes in itself of how much of a hurdle they will be, but we look forward to it.”

McKee is currently keeping a close eye on the form, fitness and injury status of our overseas-based players.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians squad will come together for camp on June 1 for three days and then the test squad will reassemble on June 6 as to prepare for the first test against Tonga on June 11.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj



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