18 March, 2018, 12:00 am
FIJI Airways Flying Fijians coach John McKee was happy with the performance of the Fiji Warriors as it gave him an opportunity to pick his best players from a group of talented players for future world cup.
The Fiji Warriors demolished Tonga 57-7 to retain their World Rugby Pacific Challenge title at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday.
Fiji Warriors fullback Inia Tawalo scored one of the tries of the competition when he ran from midway in Fiji’s 22-metre territory to score his team’s first try, beating a few Tonga players on the way.
Warriors centre Waisale Urabuta and number eight Albert Tuisue touched down twice each while prop Luke Tagi, lock Tevita Ratuva, fly-half Seru Vularika and wing Veramu Dikidikilati scored a try each.
Flying Fijians head coach John McKee said most of the players had the potential to play in the 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cup for Fiji.
“The competition has really benefited our player pathway in terms of bringing in the players and getting the opportunities in the competition and it is opening up doors for them.
“The players learnt a lot during the tournament and it is a big learning curve for them training in camp,” McKee said.
“There are a lot of good work going on in terms of developing our players and I think we have a lot of good talent on the island. We are little bit ahead of our Pacific rivals in the development of young players.
“I could see some of these players forcing their way into the Flying Fijians squad later this year and they could also play in the Rugby World Cup 2019. I could also see some of these players playing in the 2023 RWC and by then they would be front line players.”
Tonga coach Isi Fatani said he was content with the performance of his players.
“It’s unfortunate we could not win the tournament, but I have seen the boys stepping up and they have gained some experience. I hope next year the team will be better prepared since we could not prepare well after Cyclone Gita,” he said.
Tonga captain Fetuli Paea scored the lone try for his side.
Fiji: Eroni Mawi, Veremalua Vugakoto, Luke Tagi, Tevita Ratuva, Viliame Rarasea, Temo Mayanavanua, Mosese Voka (C), Albert Tuise, Frank Lomani, Seru Vularika, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Waisale Urabuta, Penaisa Kunabuli, Veramu Dikidikilati, Inia Tawalo. Reserves: Mesulame Dolokoto, Emanuel Naciva, Asaeli Sorovaki, Jale Railala, Saimoni Uluinakauvadra, Vilimoni Botitu, Jone Manu, Aminiasi Radrodro
Tonga: Sosaia Masima, Oto Faiva, Jethro Felemi, Sione Tupou, Charlie Pahulu, Puniani Malafu, Unaloto Kaloni, Solomone Pau’uvale, Sosaia Tokai, James Faiva, Paula Folau, Feofaaki Kaumavae, Fetuli Paea (C), Senituli Tuivai, John Ika. Reserves: Sione Lolohea, Anthony Aholeilei, Kaho Tupou, Siaosi Taina, Lamipeti Havea, Tuihakavalu Ika, Weir Victoria Filikitonga