DESPITE taking an under-23 side to this year's Pacific Rugby Cup (PRC) competition, Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male is optimistic the side will outmuscle the tougher opponents and retain the title for the fifth consecutive year.
The Fiji Warriors leaves the Nadi International Airport for Sydney this morning where they face Junior Waratahs in its opening match on Friday.
Male conceded inexperience would be a factor in the team but added the newcomers were ready to put their body on the line to prove their worth.
"For many of them, this is the first PRC tournament. In fact only three from this team have already played in the PRC," the former national rep said.
"But we have a task on hand and looking at the calibre of teams we will be up against, we stand a good chance of retaining the title."
Male said he would use the month-long tournament to groom the players for the 2015 Rugby World Cup (RWC) and beyond.
The PRC will feature development sides from Samoa, Tonga and Japan but these teams will play against the development sides of the Super Rugby clubs in Australia and New Zealand as the build-up first before battling each other.
Male said the onus was on the players to perform and impress the management for a place in the national team as well as a chance to secure an overseas contract.
"The decision to include some of these players in the national team for the RWC in 2015 depends on their performance at the PRC," he said.
"Secondly this is a development team so we are focusing beyond 2015 RWC and looking to groom some of them for the 2019 event."
Fiji Warriors - Joeli Veitayaki, Jone Lesi, Leroy Atalifo, Apisai Vatubuli, Leong Koong, Seru Cakobau, Jale Sassen, Semi Keli, Matai Ucutabua, Aminio Nakicobula, Nathan Hughes, Apisai Domolailai, Inoke Tuisese, Kolinio Naselekale, Esira Vueti, Eremasi Radrodro, Ron Katonivere, Henry Seniloli, Aisea Luveniyali, Kolinio Vunaki, Ratunaisa Vatuiranuku, Aporosa Duana, Peni Koroyawa, Joseva Kunawave, Jo Brown, Apisai Nawaqaliva, Penaia Naweilulu, Isoa Donaldson, Lea Matayavusa, Aisea Natoga. Non-Travelling Reserves - Apete Salawaqavuka, Josefa Biu, Tikilica Vuibau