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Crucial Tests

Arin Kumar
Saturday, June 07, 2014

THE Vodafone Flying Fijians' international ranking could improve if the side wins all their games this month.

Fiji faces the Italians today at 3.30pm at the ANZ Stadium, Tonga on June 14 at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Samoa on June 21 at the ANZ Stadium and the Cook Islands on June 28.

Fiji is ranked 11th on the International Rugby Board world rankings while Italy is 14th, Tonga is 13th, Samoa is ninth and the Cook Islands are ranked 46th.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee said Fiji's ranking would also depend on the other teams that are ranked above and below Fiji.

"Obviously if we win (Fiji improves), but it depends on the other teams as well," he said.

"For Italy it's crucial for their tour and Samoa is a little bit ahead of us, it will be critical for us too but every game counts.

"If we have a clean sweep through June, that's very good for us but whatever the other teams do is not up to us."

A clean sweep in June could see Fiji displace Scotland from 10th place and move up a spot or two on the world rankings.

McKee also gave a little insight as to how they would structure their game plan against the Italians after their captain's run yesterday at the ANZ Stadium.

"Tomorrow (today) it's all about what we do in the game.

"I'm not worried about how many Tests they have played or their strengths.

"They play to their style using forward power and we are going to play to our style which is more open style of rugby and we have got to do good work on defence."

Fiji and Italy have faced off nine times and Italy has won six of those but they have never won on Fijian soil and McKee said he aimed to keep our winning record at home intact.

He also said his players would not be fazed by the weather conditions at the ANZ Stadium and it could work to their advantage today.

"I know there is a bit of wind coming in with the sea breeze towards the ground and we are very lucky we had it when we had our runs here (ANZ Stadium).

"Also it's been the same when we had our training runs at Buckhurst Park so that's played to our favour."

McKee said the captain's run went well and the team was looking forward to facing the Italians today.

"I'm really happy with the way the players have come together and there is a lot of determination amongst the group ahead of the match."

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