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Back in form

Arin Kumar
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

LEANER, faster and stronger.

That is what Sunia Koto had to become to force his way back into the Flying Fijians spotlight. And the 34-year-old hooker could get his first start since 2011 against Italy on Saturday.

Koto made his national debut in 2005 and played consistently until Fiji's 20-32 loss to Tonga in August, 2011.

He was then unwanted by previous coaches so he concentrated on his club duties with Narbonne in France.

The Yadrana villager from Lakeba in Lau said he had to work on a strict diet and training program to get back into form that led national selectors to pick him in the Vodafone Flying Fijians.

"I'm excited about coming back after a long hard season," Koto said.

"I worked on a good training program with a strict regime on food and the body feels well and I thank the coaches for the selection because I am really happy to be back."

He said he would have competition to get back into the starting line-up but he would give his best when he was on the field.

"It's always exciting to have competition within the team.

"Most of the Fijian boys that have excelled are over 30 and so I am in that club now and I want to contribute positively to the team in terms of throwing, scrums and overall play.

"We have had that problem (scrums) for a long time and so every time we meet up it's our objective to always improve on the scrums."

Koto has rated the Italians and their loose forward Manoa Vosawai highly and said he was looking to a good game.

"Italy has a good forward pack and they are a good team.

"Manoa is a good ball carrier but we cannot single him out, they are all good players.

"The coaches have come up with a plan and we have been working on it and are looking to get our scrums and set pieces sorted out and have a good game."

Flying Fijians backs coach Andre Bell said the Italians would provide a good challenge to the Fijian players.

"Italy has been a real big improver well in recent international rugby, good forward pack and running backline and so they are going to be real difficult for us."

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