Flying Fijians

Flying Fijians to begin World Cup prep against Māori All Blacks

The ninth-ranked Fijians, who stunned France in Paris six months ago, will host the Māori in Suva on July 13 with the return match in Rotorua a week later.

Fiji Rugby chief executive John O'Connor was delighted to secure two competitive mid-year games, which he said isn't always easy to achieve for the Pacific nations.

"It is indeed a timely boost for the Flying Fijians as we will prepare for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year," he said.

Flying Fijians seek big improvements

The Pacific Nations Cup holders opened their Northern Tour with a 19-10 defeat by Italy in Catania at the weekend, who the home side avenging their loss in Suva in June.

The result denied Fiji a chance to overtake France in the test rankings and coach John McKee said they struggled for cohesion with the squad having come together at short notice from all corners of the globe.

"We had some good individual performances but probably our key combinations didn't operate as well as we needed to to put the Italians under any sort sustained pressure," he said.

Flying Fijians challenged to reach new level

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.

Flying Fijians winger Tuisova to start from the bench in Samoa

The France-based winger, who had been on destructive mode since appearing for Fiji in the ongoing World Rugby Test series, is expected to be an impact player in the team's campaign to win the PNC.

Tonga leads the tally after two games.

Fiji Times reports a win this weekend for the Fijians will ensure we retain the annual title.

Tuisova's 7s Rio Olympics teammate and off-load king Leone Nakarawa is expected to be on his 'A'-game after showing A-grade elusive ball handling skills against the Ikale Tahi in Nuku'alofa last weekend.

Flying Fijians clinch World Cup berth

The visitors trailed 10-3 with 27 minutes remaining at a sold-out Teufaiva Stadium but cut the deficit to two points with a try from Leone Nakarawa before Ben Volavola slotted two penalty goals in the final quarter of an hour to secure a hard fought win.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee said securing the top qualifying berth was their key focus this year.

Tonga v Fiji clash "like a final"

Tonga remain in the hunt for one of two automatic Rugby World Cup qualifying berths after beating Manu Samoa at Teufaiva Stadium last weekend.

Fiji are coming off impressive victories against Italy and Scotland in Suva and will seal top spot in Oceania, and a more favourable World Cup pool, with victory this afternoon.

But Toutai Kefu said the hosts are improving and won't be lacking in motivation.

McKee names powerful and experienced Flying Fijians side to take on Tonga

McKee has stressed how important this match would be for them and that they are expecting a very physical encounter with Tonga.

He says this match against Tonga is very important for them in terms of their Rugby World Cup qualification and to achieve their goal of finishing as Oceania No 1.

McKee says Tonga played very well in winning against Samoa last week which will give them a lot of confidence coming into this match and they will backed by a very loud local crowd.

Tonga make two changes for Flying Fijians clash

Jack Ram will start at openside flanker in place of former captain Nili Latu, who was forced to leave the tour due to a family emergency.

RNZI reports Tevita Taufu'i earns his first test start at second five, with captain Siale Piutau shifting to centre for Nafi Tu'itavake, who left the tour early for personal reasons.

Sione Tau will provide loose forward cover from the bench, with Kiti Taimani also elevated to the match-day 23.

'Ikale Tahi growing in confidence

McKee confident of beating Tonga

McKee says the Tongans will surely come out of their comfort zone to deny the Fijians a win.

He says they are really focusing on their team plan against the Ikale Tahi.

“We’re working on the clarity around their game plan and also some physical intensity in their training. We’ve got some specific place that we know will quite fit in their team,” he told FBC.

The match kicks off at 2pm in Tonga on Saturday.

The top two teams in the combine results of 2016 and 2017 PNC will qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

 

Flying Fijians on mission in Tonga

And with a win already in the bag after defeating Samoa at Apia last weekend, the Tongans will surely come out of their comfort zone to deny the Fijians a win.

However, Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is confident he has what it takes to break the hearts of their vocal fans.

McKee, who guided this flamboyant Fijians in their last training session in Nadi yesterday before departing for Tonga this morning has faith in the 28 players he had selected.