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Fightback Pleases McKee, O’Shea Gutted

Fightback Pleases McKee, O’Shea Gutted
Fiji Vs Italy test match June 17 2017. Photos Bruce Southwick/ Zoomfiji
June 18
10:31 2017

Despite it being a stop-and-start affair, the Vodafone Flying Fijians were saluted by head coach John McKee for their never-say-die attitude.

McKee said yesterday that he was impressed with what he saw especially when Italy drew level 19-19 with less than two minutes to go and how the Akapusi Qera-led side kept their composure in coming back to secure the 22-19 win.

“This usually never happens with our teams before,” McKee said.

A gutted Italy head coach Conor O’Shea said the drop goal by first five eight Ben Volavola, right on fulltime, was really hurtful.

“To be honest it really hurts,” the former Irish international said.

It was an exciting day of rugby as Italy preferred to play it among their bigger forwards while the Flying Fijians opted to play an expansive game.

Let’s take a look at 5 highlights

of the Test clash:

 Flying Fijians lock forward, Leone Nakarawa was a thrill to watch when he time and again broke through Italy’s defence and ran 40 to 60 metres.

When the scores were tied at 19-19 and the Flying Fijians were defending desperately close to their line, Nakarawa weaved his magic wand with one of those big runs which was continued on by Nikola Matawalu and Jale Vatubua. This later led to Volavola’s drop goal.

 The intercept try by winger Vereniki Goneva, on the 44th minute really jolted the visitors as they began to get the upper hand into the  match after their forwards were dominating the scrums.

“It was not fair as we had worked hard to get the scrum and then that intercept,” O’Shea said.

The introduction of specialist tighthead prop Manasa Saulo in the second half lifted our scrums. Saulo’s wealth of experience made the difference in the second spell, especially, winning the turnover from an Italy scrum feed in the final seconds of the match that resulted in the win.

Volavola’s kicking game was a delight to watch. The Melbourne Rebel utility back’s clearing kick was spot on as he time and again pinned Italy back into their half.

Fullback Kini Murimurivalu’s positional play was superb- always at the right place at the right time. He was cool under the high ball and every time he joined the backline, the Flying Fijians were able to take play deep into Italy’s territory.

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