RWC Diary Day 7 - Tauranga
05 September, 2011
|Ravai Fatiaki (left) unloads the pass under pressure from Netani Talei during training in Tauranga. |
It was goodbye this morning to Ohope and the Ohope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park who’ve looked after us so well over the past week; ensuring we were comfortably accommodated and excellently fed throughout the week. However full credit to the Flying Fijians who left an impression on the Holiday Park’s staff, as general manager Justine Knowles revealed.
“We’ve had many teams come through our place and your boys are very shy and so polite and I can honestly say you’re the most well behaved team we’ve ever had,” Knowles said in a speech addressed to the team prior to our departure this morning.
As a special gesture to thank Knowles and her staff for their hospitality, team manager - Pio Tikoisuva, presented Knowles with a signed jersey and rugby balls. Soon after the presentation the team departed Ohope and arrived in Tauranga shortly after 11 this morning. The two hour bus journey giving some of us time to catch up on some much needed rest after all the early morning packing.
On arrival at our hotel in Tauranga everything suddenly became more urgent and more official, and it was quite clear we were now well and truly in Rugby World Cup (RWC) mode. However the business of training still goes on for the side and this afternoon the team had a bit of a blow out at the Tauranga Domain ground whose facilities impressed Flying Fijians assistant coach Greg Mumm.
“We’ve got great facilities here as you can see and I think the guys are just happy to be finally here after so long training and so long getting ready for it,” Mumm said.
While many rugby pundits believe Fiji has a soft start to its RWC campaign with South African side Namibia its first opponent this Saturday, Mumm believes the Flying Fijians will need to be on top of their game if they are too see off the threat of the Namibians.
“They’ve got a very good attacking game so we need to make sure we’re very clinical with what we do as they’ve definitely got the potential to hurt us.”
The good news for the Flying Fijians though is they now possess a squad that is injury free.
“None of the boys are on rehab at the moment, they're all fully fit, so we’ve got a full 30-man squad to select from which is great,” Mumm added.
While there was no official engagement today, from tomorrow members of the team must front up to the media almost every single day throughout the duration of the RWC. While a number of the more senior players within the squad are more than comfortable with the media there are a few players who will find speaking to the international media a huge challenge – so interesting times ahead on that front.
One player though who is finding himself more at ease with speaking publicly and in English is Vereniki Goneva – the favourite player of many Fiji fans. One of his roles within the team is to act as the information officer giving out information on each new place we come to on tour. This morning he gave us a great speech on the bus in near perfect English about the city of Tauranga. Just a few weeks ago it would’ve been hard to imagine the player speaking as eloquently as he did this morning – well done Niki.
Tomorrow there is an official welcome ceremony for the players at the Tauranga Marae – should be a great cultural event, particularly as we have a couple of Maori players within the side – Deacon Manu and Nicky Little.
However with two trainings sessions, the Tauranga Marae visit, as well as the official opening media conference all planned for tomorrow, it seems the the day will barely hold enough hours to fulfill all our obligations.
We’ll see how we go.
Until then, moce mada. View the full interview with Flying Fijians' assistant coach - Greg Mumm
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