Strong Fijian side excited to take on the All Blacks

The Flying Fijians have expressed excitement towards their match up against the world's best in rugby, as it has been ten years since they last met the All Blacks on the field.

The All Blacks will host Fiji in Dunedin on Saturday 10 July - the same location where they last fought in 2011.

Utility back Nemani Nadolo said these opportunities to play against the best do not come often for Pacific teams and that it will be a special moment for all the Fijian players.

"We're under no illusion that this is going to be an easy game. It's going to test us both mentality and physically," he said.

"Our coaching staff are doing their best to prepare us and we, ourselves, are doing as much as we can to be ready for this game."

Nadolo explained that the coaches have said that their team is good enough to win games and that's the mentality they are in, as well as the motivation to play for their home nation.

"We are going in with a winning mentality," he said.

"Our people back home in Fiji are struggling with the current pandemic and we're here away from our families and the sacrifice we've had to do to put our hands up and come represent Fiji, I don't think people understand the severity of what we've had to do to come here, to go through quarantine and isolate, I mean we are still waiting on players to join us.

"We are a team for the people and no matter where you come from or how big you are or where you played, when you come to this team, we're all in the same level," Nadolo said.

The most important plan the Flying Fijians will be mastering this week leading up to the game is ensuring the players confidently know their roles on the field and stick to the game plan that has been given to them.

"I've got all the faith in the world that we'll put out a strong side despite the circumstances that we're in including not getting some of the players that wanted.

"We're up for a big game and what a way to test ourselves against the best in the world in their backyard, so it's going to be an exciting game," Nadolo shared.

"All the barriers we've gone through, it's actually brought the boys together.

"I don't know if many people know, but the last tour we were in lockdown that lasted around six to eight weeks.

"The morale is very high, despite the circumstances that we're in, that we've had to deal with and the boys have dealt with it very well.

"The good thing about the squad is we're stronger and we'll use that against the All Blacks," he said.

All Blacks wing Sevu Reece said if he gets selected in the starting line up to go against his homeland, it will be a dream come true.

I'm a proud Fijian and to play against some very close mates of mine that I grew up playing with, that's almost ticking the box for me.

"Everything that I do on and off the field is to hopefully inspire kids out there, especially Fijian kids out there that if they want to play for the All Blacks or Fiji, they can achieve anything.

"They've just got to put in the hard work and it will come," he said.

The 2021 Steinlager Series will be anchored on two Tests between the All Blacks and Fiji in what will be the first time the All Blacks have played back-to-back Tests against the Flying Fijians.

The All Blacks have played Fiji nine times before, but not since 2011 in what was the final Test match at Carisbrook in Dunedin. The first match against Fiji was in Suva in 1974, with the All Blacks pipping the home side that day 14-13.

The first All Blacks vs Fiji Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin kicks off on Saturday 10 July.

The following weekend, Saturday 17 July, will be a second double-header day of international rugby, with the All Blacks second Test against the Flying Fijians at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, and Tonga playing Samoa in a RWC 2023 Qualifying match prior.