Ray of hope

Dominiko Waqaniburotu offloads to Leone Nakarawa during the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians team training session at Albert Park in Suva on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

FIJI Airways Flying Fijians forward pack can match any team in the world, says former assistant national coach, the Rev Joji Rinakama. He made the comment as John McKee prepares his men for the battle against the Ikale Tahi of Tonga on Saturday in Lautoka after Fiji retained the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup at the ANZ Stadium at Laucala Bay, Suva last weekend.

Fiji beat Manu Samoa 24-22 and Georgia 37-15. “John McKee has improved the side,” Rinakama said.

“I believe Fiji’s forwards have improved compared with the world cups in 2007 and 2011. They have learned the tricks playing in top overseas competitions such as Super Rugby and European Championship. “The team showed class against Georgia in the second half to win the title again. “Fijian rugby is moving forward. We had a good back line and players who can score from anywhere on the field and now we have a good forward pack which can face any team.”

Now with the inclusion of star players such as Semi Radradra, Nemani Nadolo, Leone Nakarawa, Josua Tuisova, Ben Volavola and Vereniki Goneva, Rinakama said this was one of the best Fijian teams formed.

“I have every confidence in the team to reach the quarter-finals or even they can bring the Rugby World Cup home for the first time. “The team has a good bunch of players who are fighting for a spot for the Rugby World Cup. We are seeing a different Flying Fijians team now compared with the past teams because they have become more powerful in the forwards.”

Fiji will play Tonga on Saturday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.