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Editorial: More Depth At Number 10 Crucial for Flying Fijians

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians precursor to the 2019 Rugby World Cup begins next month during the Europe Tour. While other top playing nations will have top competitions in 2019,
07 Oct 2018 12:32
Editorial: More Depth At Number 10 Crucial for Flying Fijians
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach john McKee. Photo: Zimbo

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians precursor to the 2019 Rugby World Cup begins next month during the Europe Tour.

While other top playing nations will have top competitions in 2019, Coach John McKee’s men will need to make do with the November internationals to gauge their strength before the four-yearly event opens in Japan.

There will be no other test opportunities with the “big boys” for our men as of now.

A much more competitive Pacific Nations Cup in July will be our final dress rehearsal to the Tokyo event, with the inclusion of Japan, United States and Canada to join Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.   

With less than 12 months to go before we play the Wallabies on September 21, we need to test our depth and strength in every position next month against Scotland, France and Uruguay.

Since 2015 RWC, we have developed a good forward pack, but the position most wanting is the first five-eighth. 

Since the retirement of Nicky Little and Seremaia Bai, the first choice No.10 for the past four years has been Ben Volavola.

The first five-eighth is crucial to the execution of the team’s game plan because he needs to be decisive, effective, a good communicator and have the vision to direct attacking plays.

They are the first-choice kickers and they usually win the game.

Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal in extra time for England to win 20-17 against the Wallabies in the final of the 2003 RWC. 

The All Blacks won the 2011RWC beating France 8-7 in the final with Stephen Donald, who was brought in to replace injured Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden, kicking the winning penalty.

Top rugby nations have strength in depth in the position with Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga for the All Blacks, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale for the Wallabies, Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjes for the Springboks, George Ford, Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell for England, to name a few.

We need to blood new No.10s next month, most notably Alivereti Veitokani who is playing a lead role for the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua.

Another one could be Michael Little, who played for the Fiji U20 and now is with the Sunwolves in Super Rugby.

A son of legendary All Blacks inside centre Walter Little, he said; “I’m keen to play international rugby wherever it is. So at the end of the day if Japan want me I’ll be happy to go with them. I’ve talked a little bit with Fiji but it’s been hard learning two languages, let alone a third one, so we’ll see I guess.”

It’s also worth considering Josh Matavesi, who is playing well for the Newcastle Falcons in England.

But we need more depth at first five-eighth to make an impact in international rugby    

OSEA BOLA

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 



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