Reece excited by prospect of playing his homeland side in Dunedin

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Reece, who revealed he was close to agreeing to play for Fiji before being selected for the All Blacks, said he and other Fijian-born players in the side could have targets on their backs if playing.

Prop George Bouwer and No8 Hoskins Sotutu also have links with Fiji.

"I grew up in Fiji…then, I moved over here for secondary school [at Hamilton Boys' High School]," Reece said.

"Growing up in Fiji, you watched the Sevens and the 15s, and that was obviously your goal…just like any New Zealand kid who wants to play for the All Blacks. For me, growing up, you obviously wanted to play for Fiji."

At the same time, he saw what fellow Fijians Joe Rokocoko and Sitiveni Sivivatu had achieved playing for the All Blacks, and he admitted to wanting to be like them when his chance came.

Should he take the field in Dunedin, there will be several friends he grew up with playing for the Fiji side.

"I'm proud to be Fijian. It is going to be almost a dream come true if I get the opportunity to play on Saturday, and play against some very close mates of mine that I grew up playing with," he said.

Reece said he had been in talks with Fiji coach John McKee before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

"I was in a position where I didn't know whether I was going to make the All Blacks.

"He gave me a call, and I was going to catch up with him," he said.

Reece said he was very close to going with Fiji.

"It was a really tough decision, because I'm only 24."

Reece said he had a plan that could have involved waiting a few more years and working hard in that time to try and crack the All Blacks. Compounding his choice was the number of talented players in New Zealand that he would be competing with.

 "But it happened a lot faster for me. It was pretty special," he said.


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