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Japan, United States and Canada will join 2019 Pacific Nations Cup as build up for the RWC: John McKee More countries will provide competition at the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup,
21 Jun 2018 11:21
Test Plan
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians rep, Henry Seniloli with son, Geroge Seniloli with the Pacific Nations Cup at ANZ Stadium on June 16, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Japan, United States and Canada will join 2019 Pacific Nations Cup as build up for the RWC: John McKee

More countries will provide competition at the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup, says John McKee.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach said Japan, USA and Canada will join the competition next year in July as part of the build up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup which starts in September.

The Flying Fijians defended the PNC for the fourth year in a row last Saturday after beating Pool D opponent Georgia 37-15 and Samoa 24-22 two weeks ago. The team aims to cap off the June international series in style with a win over Tonga at Lautoka on Saturday.

“We are in for a bigger PNC in 2019 as we build up to the main event, the RWC,”McKee said.

“It would be definitely more competitive and we will be divided into two pools with the inclusion of Japan, USA and Canada.”

McKee has been impressed with the performance of the team so far currently ranked 9th in the world.

But he is aware the improvement of Fiji’s Pool D opponent Wales.

Wales completed a perfect June tour with a 2-0 sweep of the Pumas in Argentina to follow up their Denver victory over South Africa. They have leapfrogged England and Australia to third on the world rankings, behind the All Blacks and Ireland.

“The test fixture for 2019 is still being finalized but it’s unlikely we will play our Pool D opponents Wales or Australia before the RWC,”McKee said.

“We will go into camp after the PNC right to the RWC.

“We have a lot more to achieve and right now it’s work in progress.

Gatland laments misses in 2011, 2015

But his Wales counterpart Warren Gatland said his team’s successful end to the season had given him plenty to ponder heading into the break.

The Kiwi, who will bow out as Wales coach after next year’s World Cup, believes his side is on track to make a big impact at the global gathering.

“We should have made the semifinal in 2015 – we lost the lead to South Africa with a few minutes to go – and in 2011 we should have reached a World Cup final,” he told Rugby Heaven.

“We’re in the best place we have been in since preceding those last two World Cups. If we don’t pick up too many injuries in the next 12 months or so, and our planning and preparation goes to plan, then we’ll be in a really good place.”

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