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Cheika rates Fiji

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WALLABIES head coach Michael Cheika believes the Flying Fijians can beat any team in the world on any given day, based on the abundance of world-class players in the side.

He said the Fijians were no longer a tier-two rugby nation and deserved a spot alongside the world's best in the tier-one division.

The tier-one rugby nations listed by World Rugby are New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, France, Ireland, Wales, Argentina, Scotland and Italy.

Tier-two rugby nations include Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Georgia, Japan, Canada, United States, Namibia, Uruguay, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Germany.

The 50-year-old, who is on holiday in the country, said he considered the Flying Fijians team a tier-one rugby nation.

"Fiji is on the same level of a tier-one rugby nation," said Cheika.

"They really do, their players are strong and you have seen how they played in the last world cup especially the game we had against them in Melbourne.

"For me, any day they can play against any tier-one team and win and I consider them myself a tier-one. I don't know what the rule is or who decide this stuff, but for me they are tier-one team."

Cheika said he was impressed with Australia helping Fiji rugby develop with the acceptance to have the Fiji Airways in the NRC competition.

He said it was the duty of Australia to help develop rugby in the region.

"I am very happy with the Drua team and I think there is a strong connection between Fiji and Australia."

"Definitely we want to make sure we help and make rugby stronger so that our region is strong in rugby.

"We always make the game bigger and I feel it's our responsibility in Australia to help."

He said Fijians played a crucial role in the success of some of the world's top rugby clubs and played alongside some of the world's best players making them world class players.

Some of the Fijian rugby superstars that are making headlines in world rugby include Nemani Nadolo, Waisea Nayacalevu, Josua Tuisova, Peceli Yato, Alivereti Raka, Levani Botia, Timoci Nagusa, Jale Vatubua, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Nikola Matawalu to name a few.

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