SPORTS

2019 RWC Prep On

  John McKee is already working on the logistics of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach stopped over in Japan after the November internationals
08 Dec 2017 12:05
2019 RWC Prep On
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee (right) with former Flying Fijians star flanker Setareki Tawake in Akita, Japan on December 5, 2017.

 

John McKee is already working on the logistics of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach stopped over in Japan after the November internationals in Europe and returned yesterday.

“I was in Japan looking for ideal training and camping locations for the Flying Fijians,”McKee said.

“We need to get cracking now, putting the logistics in order to help in our campaign

“Our first game is a big one against Australia and we need to prepare and find a good camp site building up to the opening game.

“I met up former Flying Fijians flanker Setareki Tawake who is coaching in Akita and he’s been very helpful. Akita could be one of camping locations but that would be finalised next year.”

Fiji play the Wallabies in Sapporo on September 21 at 4.45pm (Fijian time).

The second game is against Americas Two, which will be either Uruguay or Canada, on September 25 at 5.15pm (Fijian time) in Osaka.

The third game against Georgia is set for October 3 in Oita at 5.15pm (Fijian time) and the last pool game will be against Wales on October 8 at 9.45pm (Fijian time) will also be in Oita.

This is a total contrast from the ‘Pool of Death’ in 2015 where Fiji played the first three games against tier one rugby nations.

The good spread in 2019 augurs well for the Flying Fijians and puts them in fighting chance to qualify for the Cup quarter-final. We have two tier one nations where we played one in the first pool game (Australia) and the last one (Wales). We have never beaten Australia in 63 years and this is a challenge for McKee’s men to topple the Wallabies. We only beat Wales once at the 2007 RWC 38-34 to reach the Cup quarterfinal.

McKee welcomed the schedule and could not be happier.

“The 2019 RWC match schedule looks good for us. The Australian match will be good for us as an opener and I’m pleased not to have a tier one match after our short turnaround between matches against Americas Two and Georgia. A lot will happen between now and RWC 2019. We will focus on building and improving our game to ensure we are absolutely ready for RWC 2019.

“Unlike other teams who have their players readily available in their countries, the biggest challenge Fiji faces is getting enough game time with players as the majority live overseas.

“The one challenge we face is the availability of our players as the majority of them live overseas and play in their respective clubs,” McKee said.

“But we need to make sure we get access to our players and have consistent selection in test matches.

“Keeping the core group of players together is really important. During the 2015 RWC, we only had a few months to prepare whereas this time we have two years to prepare.

“So these boys need to be playing consistently as possible and lifting our standard to another level.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj



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