Kunatani: Time To Create History

The Harlequins forward was part of our historic Fijian 7s rugby side at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and wants to repeat the feat in Japan.
20 Aug 2019 14:40
Kunatani: Time To Create History
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians scrum coach Alan ‘Grumpy’ Muir (left) during training at Albert Park, Suva on August 19, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians flanker Semi Kunatani says the team want to create history as one of the underdogs at this September’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Kunatani joined the team in a gruelling two-hour training session at Suva’s Albert Park yesterday, as the team-ups the intensity ahead of the Tonga test on August 31.

The Harlequins forward was part of one historic Fijian rugby side at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and wants to repeat the feat in Japan.

But the 28-year-old said the World Cup will be “a different ball game altogether” and the Fijians would take one game at a time.

“I think our team is strong with the off-loading game but we have to also stick to our structure,” he said.

We don’t need to do more offloads but choose the right moments to do it.

“At the moment the boys are shaping up well. The energy in the team is really high and the competition for places is pushing us to work harder.”

Kunatani also pointed to the All Blacks’ 36-0 win over the Wallabies on Saturday as evidence of how intense the competition in Japan will be.

The Fijians open their campaign on September 21 against Australia at the Sapporo Dome.

“Australia and New Zealand play with structure and I think come to World Cup it will be a different ball game altogether,” he said.

Watching the game last weekend, I think what New Zealand did well was a play on the outside and that’s where they found the most space.”

Kunatani’s team-mate, hooker Sam Matavesi, also believes the team must play with more intensity if they stood any chance of progressing.

Matavesi, 27, trained away from the main group yesterday due to minor knock on his knee but should return to full training tomorrow.

The Cornish Pirates forward faces stiff competition from Mesulame Dolokoto and Veremalua Vugakoto for the Number 2 role.

“The competition pushes me to be better. If no-one was here and you know you’re going to play, then it’d be easy,” he said.

“I think the depth of the squad is also a really good thing. If you watch training, it’s intense. People are working hard because they want to play.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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