Flying Fijians hit the dunes

Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter barks out orders to his players during the team's training session at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter says his team will have to dig deep to match the physicality and style of play their opposition will bring.

The team had a training session yesterday at the famous sand dunes in Sigatoka.

The sand dunes is part of Fiji’s secret weapon in achieving gold medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Cotter stressed to the players how important it is to have a good fitness base if they wanted to send a stern warning to the other teams in the Pacific Nations Cup that will be held here next month.

“We mixed a bit of attitude and technical work in training and how we want to express ourselves,” said Cotter.

“Bringing the team together is always a difficult session. For now, we will try and stay focused, sticking to our plans when we are put under pressure and what better way to do that than train at one of the best venues in the world.

“We have to train harder. We know it is going to be tough games as we are going up against players who had qualified under the World Rugby rulings on eligibility.

“Tonga and Samoa have a very good squad and the Australia A team has players who have played for the Wallabies. The two Pacific Island teams will be very physical while Australia will most likely play a technical game.”

The Australia A squad will feature three Fijian players who had been in outstanding form for their respective Super Rugby Pacific clubs.

Serupepeli Uru and Filipo Daugunu from the Queensland Reds will join NSW Waratahs winger Mark Nawaqanitawase with the inclusion of Rebels and Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge.

Cotter said the team would need to focus on getting the small things right and play smart.

“We need to be quick in moving the ball off the ground and being smart on the way we do things. We need to focus on ourselves. It is important to know what we can do and it will be a stepping stone for us moving forward.”

Fiji opens its PNC campaign against Tonga at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on July 2.

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