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'Bring it on'

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

THE exact words of Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee after Fiji's 25-14 win over Italy — "Bring on Tonga".

The victory over the Azzurris last weekend has fuelled the confidence within the team and the new coach as they prepare to play neighbours Tonga this Saturday at Lautoka's Churchill Park.

Tonga drew 18-all with Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup last weekend and would be searching for their first win.

Fiji on the other hand would be aiming for another victory as they aim to improve their international rankings.

McKee said its back to work now and the players needed to put the win over Italy behind them and turn their focus on Tonga.

"Bring on Tonga," he said.

"I know from my experience in Tonga what great Pacific rivals are."

McKee was Tonga's technical adviser during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and said Tonga would be a totally different side compared to Italy.

"The Italians were quite good at slowing the game down and it took us around 60 minutes to start our rhythm

"But against Tonga, it would be a tough physical encounter and it will be more running rugby.

"It will be a different sort of up tempo game and it will definitely be a close encounter."

McKee also said some changes should be expected to give players rest and the new ones some game time.

"I'm happy with the short time training but we need to step up to another level next week (this week).

"Definitely going make some little changes and we are going to see who we replace to get fresh legs in.

"Some players have joined camp and there are a lot of boys we have in the squad and we need to give others a chance to run on the field while some would need the rest after the tough game against Italy."

Flying Fijians captain Akapusi Qera echoed similar sentiments and said Tonga was the next assignment on the list and the focus should be fully on the Ikale Tahi.

"Yeah we are looking forward to facing Tonga," he said.

"We held our own against Italy very well and luckily we didn't give away any kickable penalties to them (Italy) but we need to work a bit more on our discipline because we know Tonga would be totally different."

Winger cum centre, Nemani Nadolo who scored most of Fiji's points against Italy said he was looking forward to the clash against Tonga.

"Definitely they are going to be a big side," the Canterbury Crusaders winger said.

"It will be a different ball game and we look forward to playing them."

He said he was not under any sort of pressure when he was handed the kicking duties against Italy.

"We started quiet and played into their game plan in the first half but then we showed the flair Fiji is known for in the second half.

"I was not under any pressure because if you are given a job, you do it.

"And I worked really hard on it during training last week."

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