We can challenge at our best – McKee

Coach john McKee faces the media during training last week with the Fiji team. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Coach john McKee faces the media during training last week with the Fiji team. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Fiji head coach John McKee has urged his charges to play to their “absolute best” when they kick-off the Rugby World Cup against England on Friday.

The islanders go into the tournament on the back of a Pacific Nations Cup win and an emphatic 47-18 victory over Canada, which has pleased boss McKee.

Despite their results though, the coach knows that Pool A will be tough.

“We’ve been in England for a week which has been good preparation,” he toldenglandrugby.com.

Frans Ludeke supervises training for the locks in England. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Frans Ludeke supervises training for the locks in England. Photo: Fiji Rugby

“We needed the game against Canada at the weekend because we were a bit rusty in some areas but now we’re looking forward to the opening game against England.

“We did some very, very good things against Canada but there are other areas we need to sharpen up on. It showed we hadn’t played for four weeks so we really needed the run.

“Our Pacific Nations performance was good and we performed well but we know the level of performance required in the World Cup will be much higher.

“The challenge is to make sure we’re at our absolute best. If we’re at our absolute best, we can challenge these teams.

“There’s going to be lots of twists and turns in the group. There could be a number of teams finishing on the same number of wins but we don’t speculate on where we might end up. We’re focusing on the areas we need to be really good at.”

Fiji skipper Akapusi Qera was presented with mementos from the Rugby Union during the welcome ceremonies at Hampton Court Palace last Friday. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Fiji skipper Akapusi Qera presents mementos from the Fiji Rugby Union to host nation during the welcome ceremonies at Hampton Court Palace last Friday. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Meanwhile, captain Akapusi Qera admits he is excited by the challenge that awaits his side ahead of facing England, Australia and Wales in the ‘Pool of Death’.

“[Next Friday] is one of the most important games in Fiji’s rugby history. It’s the first time Fiji has been pooled with three of the best teams in the world and I’m really excited about that,” he said.

“We normally take [doubters] as motivation. We don’t take it to heart because we know it’s coming from some people who’ have maybe finished their rugby careers.

“Whatever words come from an English guy, we’ll just take it and we’ll just give it back on the day. We’ll try our best to prove them wrong.”

  • Planet Rugby

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Filed under England, Fiji, Pool A, Rugby World Cup

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