Flying Fijians challenged to reach new level

By: RNZ

 

flyigFiji rugby coach John McKee wants his players to reach another level on their November tour to the Northern Hemisphere.

The Flying Fijians won their third straight Pacific Nations Cup title in July and secured the Oceania One berth for the 2019 World Cup, putting them in Pool D alongside Australia, Wales, Georgia and a qualifier.

The ninth-ranked Fijians also chalked up major victories on home soil against Six Nations duo Italy and Scotland but McKee is wanting to see that form replicated on the road.

“We set ourselves a good high benchmark across those tests earlier in the year but the important thing now is to step up to another level in November,” he said.

“Our medium-term to long-term ambition is our Rugby World Cup campaign and to be successful in 2019 we have to improve on each assembly we have and make the most of all the time we have together.”

Fiji open their tour against 14th-ranked Italy in Catania before taking on Ireland in Dublin and closing out their tour against Canada in Montpellier.

“For us I think it’s very good for us to start against Italy,” said McKee.

“We know they’ll be a big challenge to play them in Italy – they’ll be a tough opposition for us there and they’ll be hurting a little bit, coming off our close win in Suva earlier in the year.

“I think for our players they can approach the November tour with some confidence, knowing that we’ve been successful against Italy earlier in the year, that we can really take them on in that first game and I’s hope that with our pre-tour camp and our preparation for the Italian game, with a successful performance there we can carry some momentum towards Ireland.

“We want to test ourselves against the best and in the past 12 months Ireland have beaten both the top two teams in New Zealand and England, so Ireland are going to be a true measure of how our progress is going.”

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