MILTON KEYNES, 7 Oct - In-demand New Zealander John McKee has dismissed speculation linking him with the head coach's job in Japan, insisting his future is still with the 'Flying Fijians'.
Brave Blossoms head coach Eddie Jones joins Super Rugby franchise, the Stormers, in Cape Town after Rugby World Cup 2015.
McKee, widely seen as having done an excellent job with Fiji, was not amused to see his name mentioned as a possible replacement, however.
“Whatever their (Japan's) motives are for going to the media, I don’t really understand why, but I am committed to Fiji," McKee said. “When I return (to Fiji) I want to discuss with the board the possibility of extending my contract (until 2019).
“I’m contracted until 2017 at the moment and I want to stay there until then, but I feel if I’ve gone all that way with them I should really stay until after RWC 2019 at least.”
McKee's team were unlucky to be drawn in the so-called 'Pool of Death' where they had to meet England, Australia and Wales. Having recorded their first win, a thrilling 47-15 victory over Uruguay at Stadium MK on Tuesday, McKee declared himself satisfied with the campaign.
“For Fijian rugby it’s been a very positive tournament, we have shown we can compete,” he said. “There was a lot of talk before the tournament on our set plays and our fitness and whether we would cope, but we have proved that we are a competitive nation.”
The Fijians have missed out on automatic qualification for RWC 2019 (by not finishing third in their group) but McKee is ready to do battle with the other Pacific teams, Samoa and Tonga, for the right to go to Japan.
“We have got about 27, maybe 28, tests between now and Japan 2019 so we really need to be smart in our cycle and see it as a four-year cycle rather than on a yearly basis," he said.
“I have only had 18 months with these guys (prior to RWC 2015) so it was tough to build a squad for this tournament. We need to get younger players into the squad and develop them as much as we can so game plans and combinations can be installed in them early.”