September 15, 2015 / 12:28 PM / 2 years ago

Fiji relaxed and ready to rattle England - McKee

LONDON (Reuters) - Fiji have enjoyed excellent preparation and have no injury worries for Friday’s Rugby World Cup opener against hosts England, head coach John McKee said.

Rugby Union - Fiji - Rugby World Cup Welcome Ceremony - Hampton Court Palace, London - 10/9/15 Fiji head coach John McKee talks during the welcome Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs

The Pacific Islanders hope to cause a huge shock in front of 80,000 fans at Twickenham with millions more watching around the world.

New Zealander McKee said his side were relaxed but ready and motivated to produce a big performance.

“The good thing for us in this campaign is that we’ve had our group together for two and a half months which is unusual for us,” McKee told reporters on Tuesday at his team’s base in Weybridge.

“Normally the team comes together a week before the November tour or the June test series. That’s given us a good opportunity to work on our fitness.”

Fiji will pick their side to face England on Wednesday with their opponents already having named their line-up -- one that McKee “pretty much” expected.

England coach Stuart Lancaster selected a full-strength side but Mckee said Fiji could cause them problems.

“We have a way that we believe to play to our strengths which doesn’t change a lot depending on who we’re playing,” McKee said.

”We’ve watched England play a lot of games and we’ve watched their players play a lot of games so we think there are some chinks there that we can exploit.

”There’ll be parts of the game when it’s quite open. It’s test match rugby and there’ll be long periods of time when both teams are trying to establish a field position or get out of their half.

“I expect there’ll be periods of quite tight rugby interspersed with periods of open play.”

The Fijians are ranked ninth in the world but find themselves in the toughest of the four pools with England Australia and Wales, as well as complete outsiders Uruguay.

With big challenges ahead, starting on Friday, McKee is certain his side will not be overawed.

“In a lot of ways there’s two sides to it. There’s the challenge and the motivation of playing the opening game. That in itself is a big motivator for the team’s performance,” he said.

”It’s actually been low-key and we’re focusing on the things that we need to do and our game on Friday, and the strengths and weaknesses of England.

“In a lot of ways it hasn’t been different from other test match preparation.”

Writing by Justin Palmer; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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