Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male has already started preparations for the Centennial Match against the Classic All Blacks on June 12.
19 local players marched into camp yester
day for the Pacific Nations Cup and Male says that these players will make up the core team that will take on the Kiwis.
The former Flying Fijian has a busy schedule ahead of him with the PNC due to start on May 25, and his not leaving anything to the last minute.
“We don’t have a lot of time on our hands and the local and overseas based players are aware of that. I have been in constant contact with them to keep up with their daily training programs and to maintain their match fitness.”
Male says that the Centennial Match is a much anticipated event not only for the fans but also for the players.
“All the players are looking forward to that game, especially those based in Europe. But they all know that they will have to fight for a spot in the team, because we also have players that are based in New Zealand, Australia and not forgetting the locals.”
“As a player I only got to play against the New Zealand Maori and even that was a tough match because the Kiwis are well known for their passion in the game. Rugby is their culture and whether it is the NZ Maori or the Classic All Blacks we can expect a tough game against them.”
Male added that he was still in the dark as to which players would make up the Classic All Blacks but for now he would prepare the team well.
“I haven’t received any information yet on who will be coming, and I know that it will surely be a surprise package but that is the least of my worries. My job right now is to regroup the Flying Fijians and train them to expect the unexpected.”
“The vital game plan going up against the visitors is to play our own kind of natural game with the same passion and pride that they do.“
“This match will mark 100 years of rugby in Fiji and the team will play their hearts out because we want it to be remembered by everyone young and old for many years to come. I would like to thank the Classic All Blacks for accepting our invitation to celebrate with us this memorable occasion.”
The overseas based players are expected to start arriving into the country in a couple of weeks.
“Because of the club play-offs some of the players will arrive in Fiji on the first week of June before we depart for Canada.”
Male is expected to name his team in two weeks before they march into camp on 22 May.
- Fiji Rugby Union