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John McKee hopes to continue Fiji's improvement against Uruguay

Fiji coach John McKee insists his Islanders have made progress throughout a ferocious World Cup pool that is finally set to yield a victory when they face Uruguay in Milton Keynes.

Defeats to England, Australia and Wales have proved a test of Fijian resources and they have responded well knowing that had they been drawn in a less competitive group, they may have qualified for the quarter-finals.

"When you look at the games we've played - three games in 13 days - it's a challenge for any team. From that point of view, I cannot fault the effort of the players," McKee said.

"We want to be serious challengers to these top nations. That was my main driver when I took this job that some time in the future or when I leave that Fiji can play anyone in the world.

"We are making a lot of progress, there are a lot of challenges ahead to make sure the next young crop of players are grounded in the skills needed at this level.

"The pleasant thing for me is that a lot of these players will be available for selection in 2019."

Uruguay have also failed to win a match at England 2015 and should prove easy prey for Fiji.

"I have a lot of respect for Uruguay. They have come from a hard road to qualify for the World Cup. They've showed what a strong, passionate team they are," McKee said.

"We are a little familiar with them, having played them earlier in the year, albeit with locally-based players for us, so we understand their style of play."


From Belfast Telegraph