SPORTS

Hard-Fought Win

Discipline, consistency will be two main areas Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee will be working on playing  Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup final on Tuesday in Vancouver.
31 Jul 2015 13:21
Hard-Fought Win

Discipline, consistency will be two main areas Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee will be working on playing  Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup final on Tuesday in Vancouver.

The 13-man Fiji withstood a furious late onslaught from Japan to book their place in the final with a 27-22 victory yesterday.

“It was a very hard fought match,” McKee said.

“I was really pleased with the result that our team was able to defend their line in the last five minutes.

“Good start in the first-half but discipline let us down in the second-half where we lost two men. The Japanese played smart but credit to the guys for hanging on,” McKee said.

Manasa Saulo, Leone Nakarawa and Campese Ma’afu were sin-binned in the second spell.

“We need to work on our discipline areas and playing the two halves of rugby.

“Our focus now is to train hard and we keep on perfecting our game plan.”

Team captain Akapusi Qera also echoed the same sentiments.

“It was a brilliant game to watch from the sideline but to be in it, it was quite tough.

“We will have to work on our discipline, pick out the positives and move forward,” Qera said.

Josh Matavesi was awarded player of the match after leading Fiji to victory with his 17 points.

Japan coach Eddie Jones was disappointed with his team’s performance.

“In that last 10 minutes when players are sin-binned you got to execute very well but our backline kept on kicking the ball.

“We also had some careless attack which is not RWC standard,” Jones said.

The Japanese were in control in the opening minutes with their three early penalties before Joshua Matavesi kicked Fiji’s with their first penalty in the 18th minute.

Levani Botia playing well to set Fiji’s first try to Tevita Cavubati which was converted by Matavesi.

Fijians backline clicked resulting in their second try to Matavesi. Fijians continued dominance weaving magic seeing Metuisela Talebula scoring the third try for Fiji to lead 24-9 at halftime.

Fiji started the second-half going down to 14 men after Manasa Saulo killed the ball at the breakdown.

Japan capitalised with Akihito Yamada scoring a try.

Goromaru’s fourth penalty put Japan right back in the contest at 24-17 but Matavesi replied with a second penalty to restore 10-point gap. Michael Broadhurst’s crucial try however set up a tense finish.

Goromaru’s missed conversion kept Fiji five points ahead Matavesi missed the chance to extend lead with a penalty that fell short from long range. Nakarawa was the second player to depart to the sin bin, shortly followed by Campese Ma’afu as the Fijian scrum buckled under pressure.

Japan however just couldn’t find a way through the defence, with Fiji’s tacklers holding firm to deny Japan victory and book the Fijians’ spot in the final.

Feedback: anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

 

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