7 Mar 2013

Sport: Flying Fijians coach says players should stay down under

12:09 pm on 7 March 2013

Flying Fijians coach Inoke Male says the country's top players should look for contracts in Australia and New Zealand rather than Europe if they want to improve their game.

While Europe remains the most popular destination for Fiji internationals playing club rugby, Male said the restrictive style there often cramped the natural flair of the Pacific islanders.

He says southern hemisphere nations also included a proper off-season in their competitions, unlike Europe, and it was easier to assemble player for national squads if they're based in closer to home.

Male is currently with the Fiji Warriors team, who begin their Pacific Rugby Cup title defence on Thursday against the Brisbane Academy.

It's a belated start after their match last Friday was called off due to poor weather and Male says the aim is clear.

"We are telling the boys that you're not coming here as second best. We need to win the game, especially against the development side, because we beat them last year and they are trying to come and prove themselves that this time it's not a development side. We are trying to come and defend our title."

The Tonga and Samoa A teams are also in action on Thursday.