Oceania U20 Championship: Fiji gets ready for NZ
23 April, 2019, 8:30 pm
THE Vodafone Fijian Under-20 side is in camp and ready for their first match of the Oceania U20 Championship against New Zealand.
Head Coach Kele Leawere said the team has been working hard and excited the tournament is set to begin.
“The boys have got through a lot of work together and now they’re ready to finally put to play everything they’ve been running through” he said in a statement.
Leawere knows the first match won’t be a walk in the park for his team with New Zealand certain to be chasing a fifth straight Oceania U20 Championship title.
On paper, the Kiwi outfit would be considered the more experienced, with a side that’s littered with Mitre 10 Cup (New Zealand’s top provincial competition) players as well as a couple of Super Rugby squad members and the Fijian Under 20 comprised of vastly development pathway program players.
However, as Leawere points out, the international experience gained by a number of the squad through the World Rugby Pacific Challenge and Fijian Warriors tournament will be invaluable to the Fiji assault on their first opponents.
“The boys have matured immensely over this preparation block and thanks to the taste for top rugby in the Warriors, and also against the senior Skipper Cup teams, we know they wont be intimidated coming into this match up,” he said.
New Zealand are expected to bring a swift set piece, a backline looking to execute in combinations, and arguably one of the best Under 20 front rows in the world, so Fiji will definitely have their work cut out.
Leawere believes whilst the Kiwis might put the Fijian Boys Under pressure their level of intensity will be the key as they defend and keep the play out of their 22, playing mature territorial rugby as much as possible.
“Possession should be a key factor in our game to hinder their opportunities and apply early pressure. We need to stay calm as we know if we feel under pressure and seize up early will always give away tries,” he added.
Fiji U20s will play New Zealand at 7pm this Friday, April 26th, 2019.