SPORTS

Family First

  Vodafone Flying Fijians centre Albert Vulivuli and fullback Kini Murimurivalu will not be included in the squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Tonga next month. Coach
26 Jun 2017 11:14
Family First
Vodafone Flying Fijians veteran hooker, Sunia Koto relaxing at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva on June 25, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

 

Vodafone Flying Fijians centre Albert Vulivuli and fullback Kini Murimurivalu will not be included in the squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Tonga next month.

Coach John McKee said the pair needs time with their families.

“We will be taking 28 players for the RWC qualifiers in Tonga,” McKee said.

“We do know Albert and Kini’s wives are due to give birth in France and they need to be with them.

“Kini said his wife will be giving birth soon and he is keen to come back to join the team. But I don’t know if he has discussed that with his wife.

“We have been working really hard on building the depth in our squad and we now have quality players on the bench.”

Tonga face Samoa on Saturday, Fiji play Tonga on July 8 and Samoa on July 15.

After being unbeaten in the first round of the 2019 RWC qualifiers last year,  Fiji need to win a game to top the Oceania group and be in Pool D with Australia, Wales, Georgia and the runner-up from the Americas group.

McKee said given the challenging environment they face, they need to step up again when they play Tonga and Samoa.

“I’ve been on the job for three years and I want to see Fiji as an even field competitor with Tier One nations because I believe we have talented athletes here,” he said.

“We did a lot of work towards the 2015 RWC and now we are halfway towards the next RWC and we need to step up again and I think this campaign will show that we can step up.

“We have a very challenging environment but you can see that we got very talented rugby players.

“For me the real pleasing thing to see is the top international players who are playing in Europe or in New Zealand to come back and play for Fiji.

“There were also some local players, particularly in the front row who contributed enormously to the game.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj




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