02 May, 2014
(RUGBY HOUSE – SUVA) – 02 MAY 2014 – The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) Board is pleased to announce the appointment of John McKee as the new rugby 15s Flying Fijian Head Coach.
McKee was selected ahead of twenty four other applicants who were considered for the position. McKee has been the current Manager of the High Performance Unit (HPU) since November 2013.
He comes well qualified as he is an Australian Rugby Union Level 3 Coach. He has an NZRU-Massey University Diploma of Management (Rugby Coaching). He has an Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Level 1 Coaching certification. He also has a Fitness Instructor Certification from Monash University.
The New Zealand-born McKee spent 6 seasons coaching in the Northern Hemisphere from the year 2000, including time at Clermont-Ferrand (France) & Connaught (Ireland) as an Assistant Coach. He returned to Australia in 2007 and was Head Coach of the Central Coast Rays, winners of the Australian Rugby Championship.
In 2008 McKee travelled as a Specialist Coach with ‘the Pacific Islanders’ on their European Tour (which included a 25-17 win over Italy). In the lead up to and during the 2011 RWC he was a Technical Advisor to the Tonga Rugby Union HPU.
Most recently McKee has been working as a Programs Coach at the ARU HPU where his role was very much involved in developing and delivering rugby programs for 18-22 year old players in the ARU National Academy Program.
He travelled to the Junior RWC in France as an Assistant Coach for the Australian U20 team.
In making the appointment, the Board noted that Mr McKee has an important immediate task ahead of him as Fiji National Head Coach for rugby 15s Flying Fijians. First, to get Fiji to qualify for the next World Cup in 2015 playing Cook Islands in June 2014. Based on the outcome of this qualifying game, he will have to prepare the team for the World Cup in 2015 which will be held in London.
Assembling the best team is priority, an elated McKee says
The newly-appointed and elated McKee said he is honoured to be offered the position and will now focus his efforts and commitments on the performance of the Flying Fijians on the field and as ambassadors for Fiji.
“June is a very important month for us and it’s important that we assemble the best team on the field and off the field to achieve that qualification,” McKee added.
“My first priority over the weekend would be to put together the Assistant Coaching Team and the Management Team and present to the Rugby Union on Monday an Action Plan and a Management Plan through to June.
McKee said that there’s a lot happening in June, the Webb Ellis Cup will be here and there would be a lot of promotions.
“Watch out for community events and let’s get behind the team and have a celebration of rugby all through June,” he said.
This position would not have been possible without the financial support and other support of the Fiji National Sport Council (FNSC) and its CEO, Mr Peter Mazey.
The FRU Board warmly thanks the FNSC for this assistance and welcomes John to this new role. The board calls for all to support McKee; and wishes him all the best in his new role and responsibility.