Fiji can compete at the highest level - Weber

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Whether that was in the Rugby Championship was above his pay grade, he said, but with so many players involved in European rugby and some of the best players in their clubs, they were a quality team.

 

Fiji showed, in Dunedin, they could compete at the highest level, and Weber said he was sure if they gained approval Fiji would be a great addition to the Super Rugby competition.

 

"They did pretty well in the Aussie equivalent of the NPC for a couple of years, and the Chiefs have played a couple of games over in Fiji, and the reception we got over there was unreal.

 

"One of the great Super Rugby games I've been part of, against the Crusaders, was in Fiji.

 

"I know how much their people get in behind it and they love their footy. They were there a couple of hours before kick-off singing and stuff, it was unreal," he said.

Weber said the physicality of the first Fiji Test had been more of the type of play they would have to cope with in their future games.

 

"It was exactly what we wanted," he said of the Dunedin outing.

 

Fiji's intent impressed Weber, and he said seeing their athleticism up close would ensure another tough contest in Hamilton.

 

While the breakdown was the centre of most comments after the Dunedin Test, Weber said it was also about winning the races to minimise opponents' opportunities to get over the ball.

 

"It's about being smart and being able to get in there a little quicker before those pictures unfold," he said.

 

Seeing replacement hooker Dane Coles score four tries was unusual, although Weber quipped his grandmother could have scored three of them off the back of the maul.

 

"But in all seriousness I was stoked for Colesy, he's a great man, a fellow I really enjoy being around, so it couldn't happen to a better bloke," he said.

Weber said when new All Blacks halfback Finlay Christie left the Chiefs to go to the Hurricanes, he had been devastated.

 

"He was a teammate I enjoyed having around, so it's nice having him back in. He's a great lad, and he's playing some fantastic footy as well.

 

"It's his off-field stuff as well, he's got a good sense of humour. He's great to have around.

 

"On the field, he's taken his attacking game to a new level. I think in previous years, sometimes his skill set has probably been inconsistent. But he's incredibly consistent at it now, and some of his defensive work rate is top-notch.

 

"Some of the hits he put on those Tongan boys in the first week were pretty impressive so he can certainly throw it down," he said.

 

All the halfbacks supported each other and the competitiveness between them was down to doing their jobs well whenever they had the chance.

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