Pa­cific na­tions must earn right to play

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

Pa­cific na­tions need to earn the right to play at the Rugby World Cup says the new Ikale Tahi coach Toutai Kefu. The 42 year-old is con­tracted un­til the end of the year but wants to take the team through to the 2019 tour­na­ment in Ja­pan. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga missed out on au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth in their re­spec­tive groups at last year’s RWC in Eng­land. Kefu will take charge of the team dur­ing next month’s Pa­cific Na­tions Cup, which dou­bles as the first stage of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2019 World Cup. “World Rugby or World Cups wouldn’t be the same with­out a Pa­cific Is­land but, in say­ing that, that doesn’t give us a right to be at ev­ery World Cup, es­pe­cially now that coun­tries like Ge­or­gia, Amer­ica, Canada they’re so com­pet­i­tive now, they’ve got so much bet­ter.” “We need to keep track­ing in the right di­rec­tion. We’ve come at a bit of a cross­roads at the Ton­gan Rugby Union and we need to take the right path and keep work­ing for­ward to­wards that,” he said.

Tonga, Fiji and Samoa will also play a one-off test against Ge­or­gia dur­ing the June test win­dow.

Toutai Kefu.

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