SPORTS

Kunatani Shines

Former 7s star for 2019 Rugby World Cup, Navuma gets big break while prop Ma’afu earns 50th Test cap against Canada The Olympian and Fiji Airways Flying Fijians flanker Semi
28 Nov 2017 15:55
Kunatani Shines
Semi Kunatani

Former 7s star for 2019 Rugby World Cup, Navuma gets big break while prop Ma’afu earns
50th Test cap against Canada

The Olympian and Fiji Airways Flying Fijians flanker Semi Kunatani has impressed head coach John McKee during the Northern Hemisphere tour.

Kunatani made his Test debut against Italy in Sicily and scored his first Test try against Canada in Narbonne, France, last Sunday.

“Someone like Semi Kunatani who (has) a lot of experience in sevens- and one of the Rio gold (medal winning squad) members of course came into the Flying Fijians for the first time,” McKee told Radio New Zealand.

“So test match experience for him over this series I think has been invaluable.  He’s still got some things to learn about the fifteens game but certainly a talented footballer and players like that coming into our group now I think is really important to us towards 2019.” McKee said, after narrow losses against Italy (19-10) and Ireland (23-20), he was pleased to see his side hit their straps.

“In two areas: one our general team cohesion but also it’s really important we work around the core elements of the game that we really needed to work on,” he said.

“And for us to play our game requires winning quick ball and we did spend time throughout our camps in working on the players’ skills in that area, to make us more effective in that area, and it started to pay off against the Canadians.

“We know a lot more about some of our players now and some of the new players around the group, it’s good for them to get some test match time.”

 

HIGH AMBITIONS

With less than two years until the World Cup in Japan, John McKee said the Pacific Nations Cup champions still had a lot to work on.

“We’ve got high ambitions of what we can achieve in 2019 and we certainly know we’re not at that level now…but with the talented players we’ve got and the depth we’re now building by 2019 we will be ready,” he said.

“But it’s a lot of work and a lot of planning goes into it and our players have got to work hard when they’re away at their clubs or back in Fiji to make sure that when they come to the Flying Fijians camp they’re really ready to fly.”

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Fiji Airways Drua hooker Ratunaisa Navuma came off the bench to make his Test debut against Canada while Campese Ma’afu earned his 50th international cap.

 

-Edited: Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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