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D-Day For Flying Fijians: Coach McKee To Name Rugby World Cup Squad On Friday

The Flying Fijians after the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) last Saturday are on a break as players are spending time with their families.
13 Aug 2019 15:12
D-Day For Flying Fijians: Coach McKee To Name Rugby World Cup Squad On Friday
Veteran Fiji Airways Flying Fijians winger Vereniki Goneva scores his 21st Test try against Manu Samoa during their Pacific Nations Cup clash at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on August 10, 2019. Goneva has become the Flying Fijians top Test try scorer and is likely to make the 31-member squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: World Rugby

Analysis:

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee will name the 31-member squad to the Rugby World Cup at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, on Friday.

This was confirmed yesterday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor.

“On Friday, August 16, is the official date set by World Rugby for the announcement of the teams to the World Cup,” O’Connor told SUNsports.

“After the official announcement the players go into to camp to start their preparations.”

The same squad will play Tonga on August 31 at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Flying Fijians after the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) last Saturday are on a break as players are spending time with their families.

Also McKee has left for Sydney and should be back on Thursday.

O’Connor said the Flying Fijians will be hosted to a farewell dinner on September 3 at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa in Denarau before they fly out to Japan on September 6.

They take on the Australian Wallabies in their World Cup opener on Spetember 21 at Sapporo Dome.

The Fijians face a mammoth task after the Wallabies walloped the New Zealand All Blacks 47-26 in Perth last Saturday.

Their final pool opponent Wales did not have it their way as they went down 33-19 to England.

The Fijians will also face Georgia and Uruguay.

 

YES, WE CAN

World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry told SUNsports that the Flying Fijians have some world class players.

“If these players play to the top of their abilities than they stand a chance of beating the Wallabies,” he said.

Sir Graham said he was impressed with how the Fijian forwards played at the 2015 World Cup where they held their own against Australia and Wales.

“This if you compare to how the Fijian forwards play over the years.”

COMPETITIVE

Sir Graham said this year’s World Cup is going to be very competitive.

“In 2015, the All Blacks were the best team and almost everyone thought they would win and it happened.

“They won by two points (20-18) against South Africa in the semifinal, but these are things we should expect.”

Sir Graham highlighted that for the Japan World Cup, there are three European teams (Ireland, Wales and England) who are favourites to win.

“South Africa also as they have this newly found self-belief,” Sir Graham said of the newly crowned Rugby Championship winners.”

REECE IN THE MIX?

The no-nonsense coach pointed out that this week it would interesting to see whether Fijian-born winger Sevu Reece is in the All Blacks mix for the World Cup.

“The All Blacks have not been playing well so playing Australia, they are hoping to get the combination right.”

Sir Graham said after missing out on the All Blacks 23-member squad for the Wallabies clash in Perth, it will be interesting to see whether Reece is going to make it to the second game in Auckland.

“Sevu Reece is an exciting, good footballer, quick, good skill and played well for the Crusaders. So let’s see if he is in the mix for the World Cup.”

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

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