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Heat Is No Excuse For Loss To Japan Says Flying Fijians Coach

“So maybe we are training a little bit heavier than normal for a test match cycle to make sure that our players are fit enough when they hit World Cup.”
30 Jul 2019 11:38
Heat Is No Excuse For Loss To Japan Says Flying Fijians Coach
Flying Fijians centre Lepani Botia tackles a player in the Pacific Nations Cup match against Japan at the Kamaisihi Recovery Memorial Stadium in the Iwate Prefecture, Japan on July 27, 2019. Photo: Kenji Demura

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee said the heat they encountered at Kamaishi, Japan, last Saturday cannot be used as an excuse.

“It was under very hot conditions in Japan and it was summer time there,” he said yesterday.

“The conditions were really hot, but it was hot for both teams.”

McKee said majority of the teams have now found their form while the Flying Fijians are not too far behind.

“I can’t talk about what other teams are doing, but certainly the Pacific Nations Cup is important for us with the Rugby World Cup to follow,” he said.

“So maybe we are training a little bit heavier than normal for a test match cycle to make sure that our players are fit enough when they hit World Cup.”

McKee said there was a lot of competition for places in the team.

“That is why it’s important for the players to play well in the two remaining PNC games to ensure that they put themselves in the best position for selection,” he said.

He will make a few changes for the match this week.

“There are a few players who have been training back in Fiji. And to come into contention they haven’t had much game time yet or no game time at all, so I expect to get those players in this week,” he said.

Fiji play Canada at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, this Saturday at 3pm.

Still learning: Captain

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu believes the 21-34 loss to Japan was a good learning curve for the side.

Fiji, as the defending Pacific Nations Cup champions, will need to win the remaining two matches at home.

“We’ll take what we have learnt from the game and focus ahead,” Waqaniburotu said.

“It is not about finding the combinations right now, but it is giving all the players’ game time. Everyone getting to show what they have got.

“After the final squad for the RWC is named then the players will concentrate on the combinations. For now, we have two more games and we need to work on many things.”

He urged the stakeholders to back the side when they take on Canada on at Suva’s ANZ Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.

“We have achieved a lot of things and are learning every day, so the two games in Suva will be very important,” the captain said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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