Sere­maia Bai’s Last Kick

Sea­soned goal­kick­ing ace to boost our 2019 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign

Fiji Sun - - Sport - ANASILINI RATUVA Edited by Leone Cabenatabua Feed­back: anasilinir@fi­jisun.com.fj

Voda­fone Fly­ing Fi­jians head coach John McKee said yes­ter­day Bai plays a cru­cial role in our mis­sion to qual­ify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan.

The 2016 World Rugby Pa­cific Na­tions Cup is ex­pected be the last time for vet­eran util­ity back Sere­maia Bai to don the na­tional jumper be­fore hang­ing his boots at the end of the year. Bai, 37, an­nounced his pend­ing re­tire­ment in March. For the past 10 years, he has spent time play­ing for elite Euro­pean clubs like Cler­mont, Cas­tres and now Le­ices­ter Tigers. Voda­fone Fly­ing Fi­jians head coach John McKee said yes­ter­day Bai plays a cru­cial role in our mis­sion to qual­ify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan. The June Test matches against Samoa and Tonga is the first qual­i­fy­ing round with the sec­ond sched­uled for next year. The first two teams qual­ify while the bot­tom-placed side will have to go through the repechage. “I re­spect Bai as a rugby player and as a man,” McKee said.

“I see this op­por­tu­nity for Bai to rep­re­sent Fiji one more time as a fit­ting end to what has been a great ca­reer- both a Fly­ing Fi­jian in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion and as a pro­fes­sional rugby player in at the high­est level of com­pe­ti­tion in France and Eng­land.” McKee also con­firmed the first group of play­ers would march into camp on June 1 along with the standby play­ers from the Tele­com Fi­jian War­riors squad. The full squad will as­sem­ble on June 6 in prepa­ra­tion for the first Test against Tonga on June 11 at the ANZ Sta­dium, Suva.

He pointed out the fo­cus is to build on their game from last year. “In in­ter­na­tional rugby you can­not stay at the same level if you want to com­pete with the best, you must con­tinue to strive to im­prove and de­velop your game plans and ex­e­cu­tion. “We have made some great progress in our game style over the past two years but need to get bet­ter and to be con­sis­tent top con­tenders at In­ter­na­tional Level. “We will con­tinue to work on our set play and our work around the ruck area to en­sure we can win clean and quick balls. We will in­tro­duce a few new things to our at­tack to in­crease our ef­fec­tive­ness in this area of the game.” McKee also said they would work on their de­fence area. “Our de­fen­sive sys­tem has been func­tion­ing quite well but we need to be more ef­fec­tive in mak­ing one-on-one tack­les,” he added.

Team man­age­ment

McKee has also con­firmed his man­age­ment team has been fi­nalised and will be an­nounced next week.

Sere­maia Bai

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