Only Way Is Up Now

Time to stand tall, no returning to ground zero, pressure on the players to aim higher: John McKee Leone Nakarawa played his best game for Fiji against France; Ben Volavola,
30 Nov 2018 10:49
Only Way Is Up Now
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians side perform the cibi. Photo: Zimbio

Time to stand tall, no returning to ground zero, pressure on the players to aim higher: John McKee

  • Leone Nakarawa played his best game for Fiji against France;
  • Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani need game time, trumpcards for RWC;
  • Solid games from Semi Radradra, Jale Vatubua, Josua Tuisova and Vereniki Goneva;
  • Europe-based players camp in March;
  • Players to hit the ground running in July camp.


The only way is up now for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians, says John McKee.

Head coach McKee applauded the performance of his side in the historic 21-14 win over France last weekend in Paris at Rugby House yesterday.

“It’s very pleasing to see all the hardwork put in by the players right throughout the November tour,” McKee said.

“We probably reached a very good level now and try not to descend back to ground zero.

“We will try to get back to the same level or better before the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“After the match against France, we can say we are heading the right direction and I am really putting the pressure on the players to keep aiming higher. When we do come together for the World Cup camp in July, I’m expecting the players to be good and hit the ground running.”

The Kiwi highlighted the effort put in by certain players that boosted the overall performance of the side.

“I was very happy with the way the players come together.

“The backline players like Jale Vatabua, Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova and Vereniki Goneva played well,” McKee added

“Ben Volavola was very outstanding against France which really shows that he needs more game time ahead of the RWC.

“Leone Nakarawa played the best game for Fiji against France and his performance was very good for 80 minutes.

“In his previous games his performance drops in the second half.

“Halfback Frank Lomani is developing as a good player but he still needs to have some game time.  He has progressed impressively over the 12 months and as far as the 2019 Rugby World Cup is concerned he will be one of the top performers for us.

“But on the other side players who have come into the game as replacements have strongly played and made a great impact.

McKee also planned out his intensive seven- match play programme ahead of the 2019 RWC.

“We got 7 match play programme lined for July – August leading into September before we depart for Japan,” McKee said.

“There is a lot of time to work on things such as our specific work plan and get the players really up to performing very well in the tournament.

“France will be the last tier one nation that we play before the RWC as we look forward to some pretty good teams lined up for pre next year.

“For me it’s all about keeping the momentum going as we have so many players playing overseas who are highly motivated and looking towards the RWC.

“And at the same time they are coping up with the different pressure so I will be making an effort to get up to Europe and getting face to face with players between now and the July assembly.

“We will hold another camp for our European based players probably March next year as it will be a really important time for us as well.

“We have got a lot pressure on team selections for the RWC as top performances.

The Fijians are in Pool D with Australia, Wales, Georgia, Uruguay.

Edited by Osea Bola


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