As announced prior this month by World Rugby on the July International Test matches, Fiji Rugby is now in a position to confirm that the Flying Fijians will square up for two test matches against the All Blacks on July the 10th and 17th in Dunedin and Hamilton respectively.
Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor said that they had a productive discussion with counterparts from New Zealand Rugby and are set to play the former Rugby World Cup champions after a lapse of 10 years.
O’Connor said Fiji Rugby is excited at the opportunity to play the All Blacks in two tests in July.
“We were scheduled to play them once this year but now we will be playing two tests.
We would like to thank the New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby for their support in giving us this great opportunity for our players and likewise our Coaching panel.
He added while they are excited, the Union is also cautious since Fiji is going through this second wave of COVID-19.
“At home, the priority at the moment is to support all the Government restrictions and comply with the Ministry of Health instructions as we fight to control the spread of this virus so we can support the country return to its COVID19 contained status” said O’Connor.
The welfare and safety of our players in Fiji and abroad is paramount and at the moment our HPU General Manager Simon Raiwalui and the Flying Fijians coaching panel have started to initiate discussion with all our players in relation to the preparation for the two tests.
We will be liaising and working with World Rugby and the respective clubs of the players in relation to their release and we hope to prepare well leading into the two matches.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to confirm what will be a fantastic series of matches. We look forward to welcoming the Flying Fijians to New Zealand for what will be a historic first-ever back-to-back All Blacks Test Series against them.”
Flying Fijians Coach Vern Cotter said it’s a great challenge in-front of them and everybody needs to lift the standard and be at their best.
“Our players who will be joining from Europe need to be aware that this is no small challenge but it’s a massive one as we get two test matches against the All Blacks in New Zealand so we know how challenging it’s going to be and I think it’s very good for the Flying Fijians because we have to be at our 100 percent of our games” said Cotter.
He said “We have been looking at the overseas and also local players and trying to get them back in time for quarantine and training so that we can prepare properly for the first game on the 10th.
We have been liaising with everybody to make sure that our players know the time scale of travel, quarantine and training, CEO confirmed
Cotter is expected to announce his extended squad for the two test matches later in June.