‘Target Flying Fijians’

No rest for Wallabies as Rugby World Cup season begins.   The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are now the  target of the Australian Wallabies as their players reported to their
08 Jan 2019 10:00
‘Target Flying Fijians’
Australian Wallabies, pictured here in November, last year, are back at work in 2019. Fiji-born players are Marika Koroibete (back- third from left) and Samu Kerevi (back- fifth from left). Photo:

No rest for Wallabies as Rugby World Cup season begins.


The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are now the  target of the Australian Wallabies as their players reported to their first pre-Rugby World Cup camp in Sydney yesterday.

According to, there is no easing into 2019 for the Wallabies, as national players convened for the training camp, more than eight months out from their RWC opener against Fiji at the Sapporo Dome in Japan on September 21.

The RWC is from September 20 to November 2.

About 30 players started out but more are expected to come in and out of the group over the course of the low-key, nine-day camp, ending next Tuesday.

The pre-camp was headed by coach, Michael Cheika taking the reins of the fitness-focused agenda. This is the first time the players and Cheika have come together since the end of the Spring tour, when much of the group stayed on for a post-tour debrief before returning to Australia.

It is also the first time they have trained together since Rugby Australia announced the addition of Scotland’s Scott Johnson as Australia’s director of rugby and Cheika’s retention through to the end of the World Cup.

Johnson is still in Scotland and will arrive in Australia after next month’s Six Nations wraps, but he is understood to have been keeping a close eye on Australian rugby and the Wallabies.

Cheika’s assistants for the World Cup are yet to be completely confirmed, with a decision on Nathan Grey, Simon Raiwalui who is a former Flying Fijians captain and Stephen Larkham to be made by Cheika and Johnson as 2019 goes on.

The camp is a significant one for Australian rugby as much as just the Wallabies, with the four Super Rugby franchises needing to agree to release players from their individual pre-seasons to be part of the camp.

That agreement is a step in the right direction, as the four franchises and Wallabies move towards a more cooperative outlook that could extend to things like resting players through the Super Rugby year.

In an earlier interview Flying Fijians head coach John McKee had confirmed that they were holding a camp in March for the overseas-based players.

“It will be a really important time for us as well,” McKee said.

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

“We got seven- match play programme lined for July to August leading into September before we depart for Japan. 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.

“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 World Cup.

“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.”

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

-Edited by Sheldon Chanel


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