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-Flying Fijians Assistant coach Tabai Matson said Fiji were hoping to build on their first win over the NZ Māori in 62 years when they meet again in Rotorua this weekend.
Fiji, who stunned NZ Māori 27-10 in Suva last weekend, are preparing for the World Cup where they will meet Australia, Wales, Georgia and Uruguay in their pool games.
The NZ Māori are unlikely to be caught napping in the re-match, and Matson expects their opponents to reduce their high error-rate.
“They will have been disappointed with how inaccurate they were and the game in Rotorua will be completely different.”
Matson also said he had no problem with the All Blacks selecting the Fijian born and raised Sevu Reece, who was named in the 39-man squad for the Rugby Championship earlier this month after an outstanding season with the Crusaders.
Having been in contact with Reece in recent years, Matson, who also worked with Fiji at the 2015 World Cup, said he was aware of the young wing's desire to play for New Zealand.
“Speaking to him over the last couple of years, he was really keen to play for the sevens,” Matson said.
“So he has always had aspirations to play in the black jersey and he is New Zealand-eligible.
“It is what it is, if you know what I mean. He has had a dream run and I am sure he is very proud. One thing about Fiji is that we have got wingers.
“That is one area where we have an abundance, a whole line of world-class backs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tabai Matson has confirmed he will assist incoming Chiefs coach Warren Gatland next year.
Matson, who worked with the team's attack under the now-departed Chiefs coach Colin Cooper during the 2018-19 seasons, said he's not discussed next year's Super Rugby campaign with Gatland because they were focusing on the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Gatland is preparing Wales for the global tournament, while Matson is assisting Fiji coach John McKee.
Asked if there had been an opportunity to talk to Gatland, Matson replied in the negative.
“No. I think it's one of those things where everyone has well and truly got their heads in the World Cup,” Matson said. “I'm sure that is completely his focus at the moment.”
Cooper, who has not spoken publicly since leaving with a year remaining on his contract but was quoted in a press release issued by the Chiefs as saying he wanted to spend more time with family, guided the side into the Super Rugby quarterfinals twice.
Matson has never worked with Gatland as a coach or player. He said his most recent involvement with the former All Blacks hooker was when Canterbury lifted the Ranfurly Shield off Waikato in Hamilton in 1994.
The Chiefs' decision to appoint the vastly experienced Gatland through to 2023, on the proviso he can take a sabbatical to coach the British and Irish Lions in South Africa in 2021, has been celebrated as a coup by the club.
It has yet to be clarified who will coach the Chiefs when Gatland is on Lions duty, or whether he will retain the other four assistant coaches who worked with Cooper.
The Crusaders have also yet to declare who will replace backs coaches Brad Mooar and Ronan O'Gara, who have left to work in Wales and France. Last week the Hurricanes announced the departure of assistant Richard Watt, who will work with Tonga's coaching staff at the World Cup.
The Highlanders will welcome back Tony Brown, currently in Japan, next year. Defence coach Glenn Delany has accepted a deal to Wales to work with Mooar in Wales..
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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