Fiji Airways Flying Fijians coach John McKee has an experienced strong side lined-up for the opening World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Japan this Saturday in Kamaishi, Japan.
“We know the quality of players Japan has and the importance of playing them at one of our World Cup venues; so we have to put on a good performance,” Coach McKee said.
McKee added that the players who missed the final Fiji Airways Pacific Series match against the Maori All Blacks are looking sharp and ready for this week.
Clermont giant forward Peceli Yato also comes in after missing the last two matches. His inclusion with others will surely give Coach McKee a tough task in selecting the best team for the weekend.
“Leone Nakarawa and Lepani Botia are also now part of the mix and will be strong contenders for selection,” McKee added.
McKee is impressed with the efforts put in by the Flying Fijians in training. “This shows their determination and passion in playing for their country,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with the way the squad is working together.”
“They know that all players currently in camp will make the RWC team and are working very strongly together, which is important in our campaign.”
“PNC is very important to us as the current title holders and we want to maintain our position as the top team across the tournament.
“I think with the depth in our squad we can balance preparing for the Rugby World Cup,” McKee commented.
McKee said that the Japanese team will come in very strong in their attack and will be quick off the rucks in their first test match at home.
“I don’t expect them to change in the overall style of play. They will really try and play an up tempo game against us.
“They will play to the edges, in a very fast game and will try and keep the ball alive with quick rucks.
“Defensively we need to work very hard against them,” McKee said.
Meanwhile, McKee also revealed that Semi Radradra and Vereniki Goneva will return to play soon, after coming off with injuries from their respective club games in Europe.
“Semi Radradra was out after his injury in the European Season, we are looking forward to him to be available from next week.
“He will play either against Canada or Samoa. I’m also hoping that Vereniki Goneva will return to play in time for the match against Samoa,” McKee added.
The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians face Japan at 5.50pm (FJT) this Saturday.
The match will be broadcast live on Fiji One.