Rugby

Rugby World Cup Squad Spots Still Available Says Flying Fijians Coach

“If you look across the squad, there are some players that are pretty much sure of being in the team,” he said. “But there’s still a lot up for grabs. Around certain positions, the number one player is probably going but the other players that will go we haven’t decided yet.”
10 Aug 2019 17:01
Rugby World Cup Squad Spots Still Available Says Flying Fijians Coach
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians winger Vereniki Goneva ready to pass during the Captain’s rugby at Albert Park, Suva on August 9, 2019. From left: Ben Volavola, Eroni Mawi and Semi Kunatani Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee says, he has an idea about what his squad to the Rugby World Cup will be, although places were still ‘up for grabs.’

The Fijians have strapped in for a physical Manu Samoa test today, as both teams look to finish the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup on a high.

The match carries little significance in the context of the PNC but it’s Fiji’s final home fixture before the 2019 Rugby World begins in Japan, this September.

McKee has named Harlequins-bound Vereniki Goneva and Clermont-based Setareki Tuicuvu in his run-on side.

“If you look across the squad, there are some players that are pretty much sure of being in the team,” he said.

“But there’s still a lot up for grabs. Around certain positions, the number one player is probably going but the other players that will go we haven’t decided yet.”

The team seemed in high spirits during the captain’s run at Suva’s Albert Park yesterday.

Tevita Cavubati fires a pass during the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians captain’s run as Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Nikola Matawalu, Vili Mata look on at Albert Park, Suva on August 9, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Tevita Cavubati fires a pass during the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians captain’s run as Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Nikola Matawalu, Vili Mata look on at Albert Park, Suva on August 9, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu said they bank on the home support to give them the edge against Samoa.

“Playing at home is always an advantage, just like it is with any other country.

“Having your friends and family in the crowd cheering for you is a boost but teams can lose at home as well so we have to stay focussed,” he said.

“I’m not going to go into details about our strategy but we will show everyone what we can do tomorrow.”

Waqaniburotu and McKee also hailed the return of Goneva from injury.

Goneva, 35, will bring experience and leadership to the squad and is one try away from becoming Fiji’s all-time top scorer.

“It’s good to have someone of his calibre in the squad. He has mixed well with the younger boys and he’ll be a great asset for us,” Waqaniburotu said.

It’s also an important match for young fullback Tuicuvu, who made his Flying Fijians debut against France last November.

Nikola Matawalu with children, Nikola Jnr, Cassius and wife Jovi after the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians training run at Albert Park, Suva on August 9, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Nikola Matawalu with children, Nikola Jnr, Cassius and wife Jovi after the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians training run at Albert Park, Suva on August 9, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

TONGA WIN

Meanwhile, Tonga ended their PNC campaign with a 33-23 win over Canada at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

Tonga scored four tries to three as they led 19-8 at half time.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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