The ninth quadrennial Rugby World Cup, kicks off on September 20th with the final to be played at Yokohama Stadium in Japan on November 2nd. The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians open their campaign against Australia at Sapporo Stadium (21st September), followed by further Pool D matches versus Uruguay at Kamaishi Stadium (25th September), Georgia at Osaka Stadium (3rd October) and Wales in Oita (9th Wednesday).
With the Rugby World Cup just a few months away, it is time to start musing over the preparation of Fiji’s own national team who will participate for the 8th time on the world stage.
The John-McKee-coached side moves into camp on the 1st of next month to prepare for the home and away Fiji Airways Pacific Series Test matches against the Maori All Blacks on the 13th (Suva) and 20th (Rotorua) of July.
McKee has named an experienced extended training group which will prepare their arsenal for two months ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Following the Fiji Airways Pacific Series test matches, the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians will play Japan, Canada and Samoa in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup. The side will wrap up its preparations against Tonga in the Pasifika Challenge in New Zealand before flying off to Japan on September 6.
It’s Fiji’s Time to take on the world and we’ve got 100 days to get ready to fly.
2019 is a colossal year for Fiji’s senior men’s national team the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians.
Coached by John McKee, the 9th placed team in the world will be competing in the Rugby World Cup from 21st September with a full list of international test series leading into the main event including two test series against the Maori All Blacks and the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.
2019 Pacific Test Series / Pacific Nations Cup Squad
Leeroy Atilifo, Campese Ma’afu, Eroni Mawi,
Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Luke Tagi, Kalivati Tawake, Joeli Veitayaki
Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Tuvere Vugakoto
Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Albert Tuisue
Johnny Dyer, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Nemani Nagusa, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato
Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henri Senioli, Serupepeli Vularika
Ben Volavola, Alivereti Veitokani
Levani Botia, Sevanaia Galala, Semi Radradra, Jale Vatubua,
Wingers: Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Patrick Osbourne, Eroni Sau, Josua Tuisova
Kini Murimurivalu, Seta Tuicuvu.
Click here for upcoming test match details.
2019 Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Coaching and Management Team
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Head Coach John McKee is pleased to announce an experienced coaching group to steer Fiji through the Pacific Test Series, Pacific Nations Cup and the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.
McKee has pulled in the services of 2015 Flying Fijians assistant coach Tabai Matson together with Neil Barnes and Alan Muir for on field with Damian Marsh as Head of Athletic Performance plus John Pryor as Head of Strength and Conditioning.
McKee said “This is a highly experienced and capable coaching group with extensive professional credentials.”
He added “This group of coaches have the knowledge and alignment to take the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians forward and to help ensure this will be the best prepared Fijian team to travel to a Rugby World Cup.”
Former Flying Fijian Matson is currently a Super Rugby assistant coach with the Chiefs and was heavily involved with the national team in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England while ‘Grumpy’ Muir is no stranger to the Fijian players and is regularly on island working with the forwards on their scrummaging.
McKee highlighted “The Technical Rugby Staff have RWC experience including Barnes who was part of the Canadian team during the RWC in 2011 and 2015 while Pryor was with the Eddie Jones coached Japan in the last World Cup.
“Expectation of performance will be high for the Flying Fijians at RWC 2019. I am confident that this coaching group can plan and deliver a total rugby program to take The Flying Fijians to new levels” he said.
2019 Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Coaching and Management Team
John McKee (Head Coach)
Willie Baleinabuli (Team Manager)
Tabai Matson (Senior Assistant Coach)
Neil Barnes (Assistant Coach)
Alan Muir (Assistant Coach)
Damian Marsh (Head of Athletic Performance)
John Pryor (Head of Strength & Conditioning)
Hiroaki Nitta (Assistant Strength and Conditioning)
John Batina (Performance Analyst)
Josh Vuto (Video Analyst)
Bryn Savill (Doctor)
William Kong (Head Physiotherapist)
David Bick (Physiotherapist)
Sunia Koto (Team Logistic & Cultural Leader)
Inoke Bainimarama (Media Officer)
2019 Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Wider Training Group for Rugby World Cup.
A squad of 38 players will march into camp on July 1st for their first mission against the Maori All Blacks on the 13th of July at ANZ Stadium before a return leg in Auckland on July 20.
The wider training squad welcomes a host of new faces including local based Fijian Drua and Fijian Latui players Johnny Dyer and Luke Tagi.
Competition will be fierce across all positions with many of the European based players coming off the back of stellar seasons including Viliame Mata the PRO14 European Players Player of the Year and London Irish stars Alivereti Veitokani and Albert Tuisue who helped their club’s achieve promotion into the English Championship.
McKee said “It is very pleasing for me to see so many players getting games at their various European clubs. Their seasons are now closing down so we hope to see them back into Fiji from next week.”
The incoming squad members will join local squad members Frank Lomani, Serupepeli Vularika, Eroni Mawi, Mesulame Dolokoto, Joeli Veitayaki, Tuvere Veremalua and forward Mosese Voka who have been training together with the Fiji Rugby Academy since January.
McKee highlighted “Certainly there are very good local players who are challenging for positions in the Rugby World Cup team. It is also important time for them as they are currently part of the Swire Shipping Fijian Latui.”
With so many of his players coming into camp in good form, the Head Coach is eager to get stuck into Series preparations.
“Now is the time, with all planning in place, I am really looking forward to getting into camp with the players from July 1st. We know we have a lot of work to do between our assembly and traveling to Japan for our first game against Australia in the Rugby World Cup” he said.
McKee said the players are slowly returning into the country as their season finish in Europe and they prepare to move into camp on the 1st of July.
“Players have been slowly filtering back onto the island. I expect by the second week of June nearly all the players will be back with the exception of any French players who’s teams progress deep into finals.”
McKee said the door is open for more players to be included into the wider squad.
“Players can be included at any time based on them showing outstanding form and fitness level. This can include locally based players playing in the Swire Shipping Fijian Latui or at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship” he said.
Meanwhile, Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor has thanked all the sponsors, World Rugby and the Government for supporting the Flying Fijians team for the Rugby World Cup this year.
FIJI AIRWAYS FLYING FIJIANS 2019 WIDER TRAINING SQUAD:
2ND ROW / BACKROW
2019 Rugby World Cup Draws.