Sunvoice

Editorial: The signs are good heading to 2019 RWC

The 2018 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup is now water under the bridge. The next stop for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians is Saturday’s Test clash against Tonga at Churchill
18 Jun 2018 11:57
Editorial: The signs are good heading to 2019 RWC
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The 2018 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup is now water under the bridge.

The next stop for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians is Saturday’s Test clash against Tonga at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

This will be followed by the end-of-the-year tour in November where Fiji plays a Test match against Scotland at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on November 10, before taking on France at Stade de France in Saint-Denis on November 24.

These are all important assignments as head coach John McKee starts to put together our team for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Last Saturday’s 37-15 win over Georgia, who is also our Pool D opponent at the 2019 RWC, signifies that our campaign is on track.

However, that does not mean that we should rest on our laurels but instead we should be now working harder and a lot smarter as well.

For sure the Milton Haig coached- Georgians side will be doing the same because they will want to avenge their loss where it matters the most – at the Rugby World Cup.

We should be prepared for it.

The decision makers at Rugby House should be applauded for going out of their way last year to ensure that we have a local-based side – the Fiji Airways Drua – playing in the Australia National Rugby Championship (NRC), Swire Fijian Warriors playing in the Pacific Rugby Challenge and the Nations Cup in Uruguay.

After a year’s participation we’ve seen the rise of talented local-based players such as Mosese Voka, Frank Lomani, Eroni Sau, Ratunaisa Navuma, Vere Vugakoto, Mosese Ducivaki, Kalivati Tawake, Albert Tuisue, Eroni Mawi, Alivereti Veitokani, Mesulame Dolokoto and the list goes on.

All these players have added depth to the Flying Fijians extended squad and are also in contention for a spot at the World Cup.

Combine them with our overseas-based players (which also includes the return of injured players such as Levani Botia, Peceli Yato, Albert Vulivuli, Waisea Nayacalevu, Peni Ravai and so on ) we should have a solid team for the 2019 RWC.

But again, all depend on McKee and the coaching staff because they know the players who will fit into the pattern of play that we are going to adopt and that will enable us to topple Tier 1 nations such as Australia and Wales, who are the top seeds of Pool D at next year’s RWC.

Nothing is impossible if only McKee and his staff play their cards right, but as of now let’s wish them well as they work towards achieving the goals they’ve set.   

LEONE CABENATABUA

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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