20 Jul 2019

Sport: Fiji ready for Maori All Black fury

10:18 am on 20 July 2019

Fiji's rugby coach John McKee is prepared for a Maori team intent on exacting revenge for last week's upset loss in Suva.

The two sides meet again tonight, this time in Rotorua, and Mckee said the host team will want to bounce back from their 27-10 loss to Fiji.

In 30 meetings between the two sides, last week's defeat was only the second the Maori team had suffered to the Flying Fijians.

In response the Maori All Blacks named an unchanged match 23 man squad for tonight's encounter but swapped out five starters for those that were on the bench last week, including dropping former All Black halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Blues number eight Akira Ioane.

Fiji coach John McKee.

Fiji coach John McKee. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

For his part, John McKee made 10 changes to his winning side, including the return of the experienced prop Campese Ma'afu and wing Patrick Osbourne.

McKee said the changes had been made, partly with this year's World Cup in mind.

"It's an opportunity for these players to step up and show what they can do," he said.

"Everyone in the squad is vying for a position in the final selection for Rugby World Cup.

"We look at everything they do every day but game form will count for a lot."

McKee said the few weeks would be pivotal for Fiji.

"We've got a couple of weeks away from home now with the match against the New Zealand Maori and then we travel to Japan to play Japan.

"It's a couple of big weeks for us and you want to keep firing your team and we look forward to being back home for the last two rounds of the Pacific Nations Cup at the end of the month," he said.

Fiji prop Campese Ma'afu (L) gets another chance to square off against Uruguay this weekend.

Campese Ma'afu, front left, will make his return in the Fiji jersey tonight Photo: AFP