SPORTS

Flying Fijians Coach Starts 2019 Rugby World Cup Camp

With such a small window of prep­aration time before the major tour­nament in September, maintaining, gathering and building upon the 2018 momentum is critical to the Fi­jian head coach and squad.
27 Feb 2019 13:10
Flying Fijians Coach Starts 2019 Rugby World Cup Camp
Levani Botia to be checked after missing out the last November test matches due to injury. Photo: Zimbio

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is in France for a three- day camp with the overseas based- Flying Fi­jians.

This was confirmed to SUNsports last night by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor

McKee had earlier said that the camp is to assemble the almost 30 European- based players in Tou­louse and it will be from March 4-6. This first camp of the Flying Fiji­ans towards the RWC where they look at the players physically and also medically to pick up any inju­ries they might have and to recon­nect with the programme.

According to FRU Media, McKee has been pleased with the volume and quality of game time his squad have been producing during the Eu­ropean competitions.

Particularly pleasing has been the form from the likes of Viliame Mata, Peceli Yato, Vereniki Goneva and Leone Nakarawa.

Whilst the big stars have been hav­ing plenty of impact during their seasons, there is still a number of players who McKee will use the camp as an opportunity to provide supplementary focus areas to work on before they combine for the PNC campaigns later in the year.

The Regulation 9 camp is also an opportunity for the head coach to reiterate his management team’s expectations around training, nu­trition and professional standards for this important World Cup year, as well as reviewing the November tours.

With such a small window of prep­aration time before the major tour­nament in September, maintaining, gathering and building upon the 2018 momentum is critical to the Fi­jian head coach and squad.

As is usual practise McKee, will visit numerous clubs in France to continue building relationships with his talents home bases, dis­cussing his key plans with the coaches and management, watch rugby games and to keep track on some of the other Fijian talent available.

“We see some other players who been on our radar playing well for their respective clubs if you visit them you have a really good first hand assessment of those players,” said McKee.

He is not only focusing on top play­ers but he’ll also be looking into other players to make sure he has the best possible representation come July and then September.

“We don’t only look at the top play­ers, we are starting to look at some groups which are outside the camp. We envisage there will be a couple of guys joining the camp outside the November group.

“There were some who were in­jured when the November selec­tions were made with the likes of Levani Botia who’s back on the field.

“Seta Tuivucu who got injured playing against Scotland hasn’t played since, but is now back at full training and he’ll be in camp with us and hopefully he gets a little bit of game time towards the end of their season.”

Also part of his RWC campaign is to attend the World Rugby Pa­cific Challenge which kicks off in March to keep an eye on the local talent who are all still in the mix of selection for the World Cup squad.

“We have many good local players including a couple of young local Flying Fijians who are on the radar, they are involved in an intensive training program here and we are watching them closely.”

He pointed out the quality young players that have came out of the under 20 program and is encour­aged to see that group in action at the PRC where they will get to test themselves in a professional and higher standard of international competition.

Meanwhile, the Flying Fijians have slipped back to 9th spot of the World Rugby rankings.

Edited by Grace Narayan

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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