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Focus on rucks

Emoni Narawa
Thursday, May 22, 2014

FLYING Fijians head coach John McKee has introduced new techniques and skills around the rucks, an area he believes is hotly contested in modern rugby.

McKee had his first training session with the locally-based Flying Fijians and he was pleased with the performance of the players.

Emori Waqa, Leeroy Atalifo and sevens star Samisoni Viriviri were part of the training sessions.

"We had a fitness test in the morning and then got on the ground in the afternoon, it's quite pleasing — the performance of the players — coming from a coach's perspective," McKee said.

He said some of the players had learnt few techniques at provincial level.

"I took the boys through some skills and technique sessions around the ruck which is very important — a hotly contested area in the world today," he said.

"To win quick balls we need to be effective on this area, if we're poor on the ruck, it will result in slow balls in the breakdowns. I will want an improvement on this area.

"Some of the players have gone through this at provincial level but I introduced to them a new skill and technique."

Fiji plays its opening June Test against Italy at the ANZ Stadium on June 7.

McKee will name his final 30-member squad for next month's Test matches tomorrow.

He said some locally-based players could expect their names to be included in the squad. Overseas-based Netani Talei has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

"Yes, some of the local players can expect their names to be included in the final squad. I will have to sit with them tonight (last night) to talk about areas in which they can improve on."

Meanwhile, McKee revealed there would be former Flying Fijian players included in his coaching panel.

"There will be a mixture of former and overseas players in the coaching panel."

Fiji plays Samoa and Tonga after the Italy game before facing Cook Islands in the must win Rugby World Cup qualifying match to book a spot to England next year.

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