SPORTS

McKee Awaits FRU Call

McKee said he was hoping to extend his time in charge despite failing to take the Flying Fijians out of the pool competition of the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.
15 Nov 2019 11:42
McKee Awaits FRU Call
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians could soon be having a new head coach.

This was after John McKee told overseas media that he had spoken to the Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer, John O’Connor, and the board about his future with the team since his contract expires next month.

“There’s nothing sort of concrete decided yet but for me, I’m just really thinking about this game this week and thinking about making sure that the preparation is the best it can be for the young players we’ve got coming into the squad,” he told Radio New Zealand.

McKee said he was hoping to extend his time in charge despite failing to take the Flying Fijians out of the pool competition of the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.

He also confirmed that former Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Mesulame Kunavula had joined the squad.

“He (Mesulame) was in our sevens programme and he’s joined Edinburgh this year. I was enquiring with the coaching staff there about how he was going and (Director of Rugby) Richard Cockerill thought it would be really beneficial for him to get the game-time so he’s one professional player from up north who’s joining us but with the other players we didn’t even go to the clubs.

“It’s outside the [player release] window and the clubs are going to say no. We just concentrated on building a side around the players we’ve got here.”

McKee expected a competitive clash.

“I think the game will suit us because the Barbarians they want to play rugby- there will be a lot of ball movement, a lot ball in play, probably less kicking than we normally see when we come to the Northern Hemisphere or we saw in some of those games in the World Cup,” he said.

Meanwhile, Barbarians head coach Eddie Jones has named a strong starting line-up to take on Fiji in their Killik Cup encounter at Twickenham on Saturday.

There is a strong South African contingent in the matchday squad, which includes 2019 Rugby World Cup winners Tendai Mtawarira and Makazole Mapimpi in the run-on side, while another recent World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am starts on the replacements bench.

Former Ireland and Ulster hooker Rory Best will captain the side and is joined in the front-row by Mtawarira, who starts at loosehead prop, and Argentina’s Enrique Pieretto.

LINE-UP

Barbarians: 15 David Havili, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Campese Maafu, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Angus Cottrell, 20 Matt Philip, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Lukhanyo Am, 23 Morne Steyn

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Tom Foley (England)); Assistant referees: Simon Harding (England), Dean Richards (England); TMO: David Grashoff (England)

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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