Head coach coach John McKee believes Crusaders winger Sevu Reece wants to play for Fiji at the World Cup but admits the chance to secure his professional future in Super Rugby and bid for an All Blacks call-up could rule him out.
Reece moved to New Zealand in 2014 to attend Hamilton Boys High School and made his provincial debut for Waikato in 2016 and is now on the All Blacks radar thanks to his outstanding form.
McKee acknowledges there are real pressures on players like Reece to make decisions for not only their own playing futures but the good of the families.
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McKee, the Fiji head coach, told Radio New Zealand: “It’s not a cut and dried situation for Pacific Islanders playing professional rugby. They have a lot of pressures around their lifestyle – often they’re living away from home, some of them are even living away from their families.
“They do provide a lot of income to their families and villages back home and there’s a lot of pressure around that – balancing being the best professional player they can and pursuing professional contracts with the commitments of the international game can be difficult.
“I fully understand that and respect player’s decisions but certainly I think Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the game and for Fiji in particular, with the talented group of players we’ve got currently and with the experience and blend of young players in our squad, we can achieve something special this year. That’s one of the frustrating things coaching teams in the Pacific – when players go particularly to New Zealand they get very good opportunities around their education and also as professional rugby players.
“But when players are unavailable for Fiji that can be frustrating for us because realistically to perform as best we can in the World Cup we need to have our best players available for us and our best players on the field.”
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