On the eve of departure for the Vodafone Fijian Under-20 Oceania Under-20 campaign, Coach Kele Leawere is confident towards his team’s physical and mental state.
The junior national side began their preparation campaign in February with an open trial sessions unearthing exciting potential as the initial squad came together.
Since then, various members joined the World Rugby Pacific Challenge winning Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors team whilst the remained of the players continued to prepare for the year’s huge calendar in camp and DTE sessions.
Leawere emphasized that the 8 weeks of preparation has seen great progress with most of the new players initiated into the structure and standards he is expecting.
“In our 8th week of camp it’s pleasing to see that the commitment from the players is really up there.”
Throughout the preparation the team took part in various scrimmage session with other teams including provincial teams such as Nadroga which really exposed the young men to the level they’re expected to reach.
“In terms of training, we’ve had 8 games of warmup and their commitment shows that they are ready to go.”
The campaign has been boosted with the influence of guest coaches including Fiji Airways Flying Fijians technical coach Alan Muir and with 9 current under 20 players exposed to international level rugby in the WRPC their experience and learnings on professionalism is invaluable to Fiji’s chances of performing in both the Oceania and Junior World Championships ahead.
“We’ve roped in Muir as we’ll definitely need his expertise coming out from teams like Australia and New Zealand, and 9 of the boys came from the recent WRPC.
I’ve given them the responsibilities of setting the standard in terms of rules they need to follow on and off the field.”
Captain Tevita Ikanivere explained that playing alongside experienced players and being exposed to high level rugby in the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors really has been a blessing for his experience through the campaign.
“I am confident that other under 20 who joined the Warriors will bring what they’ve learnt from there in to the under-20.”
Ikanivere emphasized on how leading a national team is such a privilege while with it comes with responsibilities.
He explained that the main focus right now isn’t to just attend the tournament but going to the Gold Coast based Oceania Under 20 Championship with the aim and mindset of winning.