SPORTS

Why We Lost, McKee Tells

Failure to convert line breaking opportunities into points, lack of patience in attack and high count of handling errors led to Fiji’s 27-19 loss to Tonga at Churchill Park, Lautoka
24 Jun 2018 10:44
Why We Lost, McKee Tells
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians players sit in despair while the Tongans celebrate their 27-19 win in their Test clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka on June 23, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Failure to convert line breaking opportunities into points, lack of patience in attack and high count of handling errors led to Fiji’s 27-19 loss to Tonga at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

This was highlighted by Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee during a post-match interview.

“In terms of our game we created a lot of line breaks but we failed to convert that into any sort of pressure or points and that for me was pretty disappointing because we needed to convert those line breaks into points,” he said.

McKee said if we had converted some of them into points in the first half then it would have been a very different story.

 

What happened: The Flying Fijians missed a lot of scoring opportunities due to poor handling and lack of support during line breaks.

It began early in the first half, with balls being dropped cold right in front of the crossbar from prop Campese Ma’afu, then a sure try denied to winger Nemani Nadolo, who lost the ball inches away from the Tongan tryline.

The Tongans scored the first try in the 20th minute to Paula Nagauamo and converted by Sonatale Takulua for a 7-0 lead.

The Tongan’s rushing defence led by second five eighth Cooper Vuna disrupted Fiji’s play.

However, the Fijians scored in the 32nd minute through halfback Frank Lomani with the conversion going over as they were tied at 7-7.

 

Halftime: Fiji 7-7 Tonga

It was in the second half the Flying Fijians copped yellow cards to Jale Vatubua and Vereniki Goneva.

Tonga scored first in the second half through Steve Mafi in the 44th minute for a 14-7 lead before Goneva replied with a try while the conversion went wide 14-12.

Tonga’s brilliant defence forced the Flying Fijians to commit simple errors, something McKee was disappointed about.

Lock Viliame Mata in a solo effort ran in a glorious try with Ben Volavola adding the extras for a 19-14 lead.

Then disaster struck when Goneva was yellow carded and the Tongans took advantage of the situation.

Takulua added a penalty to narrow the deficit to 19-17 and minute later kicked over his second penalty for a 20-19 lead.

Poor tackling saw Tongan Sefo Sakalia crashed over for a try in the 71st minute with Takulua converting to leave the final scores at 27–19

 

Big Play: Tonga halfback Takulua was cool under pressure and masterminded all their moves. He scored 12 of Tonga’s points from 3 conversions and 2 penalties.

 

Star turn: The yellow card on Goneva turned the match into Tonga’s favour. The Flying Fijians lost the 19-14 lead as Tonga scored 13 unanswered points.

 

 Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  peni.komaisavai@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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