Fiji aim to keep momentum from World cup

Mosese Rauluni has called on members of the Fiji team to maintain and build on the standard they had achieved from the 2007 Rugby World Cup where they reached the quarter final.


Rauluni jetted into Fiji yesterday to join the 26-member Fiji side to prepare for the Pacific Nations Cup opening match against Samoa next Saturday in Lautoka.


“We’ve all agreed that the standard at the world cup is the benchmark for us to meet and we cannot accept anything else,” Rauluni told the Fiji Times.


“We know how we can play and we need to keep playing that way. If we go down, then we’ll start from scratch again.


“Everyone’s buying into our campaign and our first and main aim is Samoa.


“They’re (Samoa) still reeling after not playing that well in the world cup. I know that because I’ve talked to some of the Samoan boys and they’re out to come and knock us off at home.”


Rauluni warned that players must be ready to put their bodies on the line to ensure that Fiji rugby continues to grow from the quarter-final success in France.


“Well my message is that you’ve been picked for a reason. If you don’t want to be here, then the door’s there,” Rauluni said.


“Take a walk because it’s going to be a very rough ride, it’s going to be tough.


“Everyone has to buy into it (campaign) or the chain is going to break – we don’t want any weak links.”


The Coach Ilivasi Tabua has kept 17 players who played for Fiji at last year’s world cup for the match against Samoa next week and Rauluni said that he had come out of retirement to join the team because he was “confident” that the players could go one step further.


“It’s going to be good. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”


Tabua said the team has to set the platform in the match against Samoa.


“The world cup is over. This is a new year and we must stamp our ground in the first match,” Tabua said.


“We can only go up from the world cup and it’s a challenge for us to maintain and be consistent.


“Our goal this year is to better our standings in the PNC last year and it’s a stepping ground for some of the young players.


“We want to continue with what we had last year.”


The side marched into camp yesterday with a number of overseas players yet to join the team.


The 2008 PNC will kick-off with three mouth-watering fixtures as Fiji host Samoa in Lautoka and New Zealand Maori make their IRB Pacific Nations Cup debut against Tonga in Albany on June 7. The following day 2007 runners-up Australia A are hosted by Japan in Fukuoka.


Fiji:


Forwards – Graham Dewes, Sunia Koto, Kele Leawere, Wame Lewaravu, Semisi Naevo, Akapusi Qera, Jone Railomo, Aca Ratuva, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Vereniki Sauturaga, Viliame Seuseu, Alefoso Yalayalatabua, Netani Talei, Deryck Thomas


Backs: Filimoni Delasau, Vereniki Goneva, Maleli Kunavore, Waisea Luveniyali, Timoci Nagusa, Sireli Naqelevuki, Kameli Ratuvou, Jonetani Ralulu, Mosese Rauluni, Dan Rawaqa, Michael Tagicakibau, Aporosa Vata.

 

Rugbyweek.com

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