SPORTS

Only The Best Will Do, Flying Fijians Arrive In Rotorua

Analysis: The John McKee-coached Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are having their open training session at Puarenga Park in Rotorua today. The Flying Fijians and the Vodafone Fijian Under-20 teams were
17 Jul 2019 15:47
Only The Best Will Do, Flying Fijians Arrive In Rotorua
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee, Serupepeli Vularika, Tevita Ratuva, Albert Tuisue and assistant coach Tabai Matson on their way to the Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua, New Zealand on July 16, 2019. Photo: Rotorua Daily Post

Analysis:

The John McKee-coached Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are having their open training session at Puarenga Park in Rotorua today.

The Flying Fijians and the Vodafone Fijian Under-20 teams were traditionally welcomed by the Fijian community in Rotorua on Monday night. And yesterday it was at the Ta Papalouru Marae and while they were there the Maori All Blacks had their first training run at the Rotorua International Stadium.

FOCUS

For McKee and his coaching crew the focus is to build a strong depth for the Rugby World Cup in September.

Before naming his 26-member squad on Sunday night, the no-nonsense head coach had given  instructions to John Pryor, the head and conditioning coach to whip (some of the players who are staying back) into shape.

Don’t get me wrong, yes there are players who are recuperating from last Saturday’s 27-10 win, also those that are undergoing special programs and the injured ones as well.

But McKee knows the capability of the players (under Pryor’s watch) and those he’s putting pressure on as they are ones we could count on at the World Cup.

We’re now in the business end of our World Cup preparations.

For players who are now in Rotorua, this is their only chance to impress McKee or otherwise say goodbye to their World Cup dreams.

It may sound harsh but that’s the way it is.

LIKELY XV

Looking at Saturday night’s game surely we’ll be playing under very cold conditions but that should not be an excuse.

For the local-based players they need to be switched on.

For the front rows, we welcome the return of loose head prop Campese Ma’afu but however the pressure will be on tighthead props Leeroy Atalifo and Kali Tawake as they need to show what they’ve got.

Tawake came in as a second half substitute last Saturday but had to be replaced minutes later due to a leg injury. Local- based props Luke Tagi and Joeli Veitayaki are surely going to stamp their mark if given the opportunity.

Sam Matavesi should get the nod at hooker and the chance to perfect his lineout throws.

Veteran Api Ratuniyarawa could partner 24-year-old newbie Tevita Ratuva at locks while skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu should man the blindside flanker’s berth while Mosese Voka will be at openside flanker.

Nemani Nagusa should start at No.8 while Johnny Dyer could come in as an impact player.

Nippy Henry Seniloli is tipped to start at halfback while Frank Lomani could come later into the game.

Alivereti Veitokani will be our man at first five eight with Josh Matavesi at second five eight while Jale Vatubua falls back to his usual position at outside centre.

Filipo Nakosi and Patrick Osborne should start on the wings while Kini Murimurivalu will be at fullback.

Not to be counted out is plucky Serupepeli Vularika, who could stand in as a cover for Veitokani since he is a reliable goal-kicker as well.

Feedbackleonec@fijisun.com.fj



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