27 June, 2018, 12:06 pm
FIJI Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is impressed with the progress of young local players in the team during their 2018 Pacific Nations Cup campaign.
McKee said hooker Tuvere Veremalua, loosehead prop Eroni Mawi and scrumhalf Frank Lomani had improved and looked impressive for future national duties.
“I am pleased with the local players who have come into our squad in terms of Mawi, Frank, and Tuvere,” he said.
“I think those players have really stepped up and they are challenging for the starting spots in the team. “Our regular campaigners who played really well are Vereniki Goneva across the series, Campese Maáfu although he lacked a little bit of fitness when he joined camp he did very well during the scrums. “It was disappointing to end the June Test matches with a loss to Tonga where the team made too many errors in the first half, but came back strongly in the second half.”
The Akapusi Qera-captained team recorded two wins out of three matches in the competition which saw them defending their title for another year. McKee said the team had shifted its focus on to the November tour.
He said the side would play 7th placed Scotland and France who was positioned 8th in the World Rugby ranking and they would also face Uruguay.
“Our focus is to fully review the players’ performance and fitness and to put some pressure on the players to fight for the November Tour spot,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the matches against tier one teams such as Scotland and France. “Scotland had a very good win over Argentina on the weekend. “We have defeated them last June and it will be another interesting match. “France had a tough tour in New Zealand and the All Blacks have put them under a lot of pressure and to play them on their home turf would be interesting with so many of our players playing in France. “They know the France players really well because they play against them (Top 14 competition). “If we do the work now, then we can do a lot.”
Fiji is ranked ninth in the world.