Kick­ing Irks Coach Mckee

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - SHEL­DON CHANEL Edited by Naisa Koroi Feed­back: shel­[email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Fiji Airways Fly­ing Fi­jians head coach John McKee be­lieves the team needs to

im­prove its kick­ing game de­spite beat­ing Samoa 10-3 in the last round of the Pa­cific Na­tions Cup at Suva’s ANZ Stadium yes­ter­day. “We didn’t win the kick­ing du­els,” he said.

“It was that sort of a physical en­counter where nei­ther team was giv­ing any­thing away at the ad­van­tage line so it was very hard to build con­ti­nu­ity and we didn’t need to kick.

“If you an­a­lyse the game, Samoa prob­a­bly won the kick­ing game tonight.”

There was some crit­i­cism of Ben Volavola for kick­ing away pos­ses­sion too much.

There was a sense that the aim­less kick­ing al­lowed Samoa to gain a foothold in the game and push back the Fi­jians. Samoa head coach Steve Jack­son felt they did enough to win the game, while his cap­tain Jack Lam ap­peared un­happy with some of the ref­eree’s de­ci­sions.

The vis­i­tors crossed the line at the death, but were de­nied a try af­ter the ref­eree ruled a knock on. “I think we de­served to win and the score­line doesn’t re­flect how we played,” Jack­son said. “I’m proud of my team. We gave Fiji one turnover and they scored but in terms of pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory, we were way in front and con­trolled the game well.”

Good de­fence wins games and the Fiji Airways Fly­ing Fi­jians just did that to beat Samoa 10-3 in the fi­nal Pa­cific Na­tions Cup match at the ANZ Stadium last night. The Samoans dom­i­nated ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion but were de­nied scor­ing by a stern and bru­tal wall of de­fence which they found tough to crack.

The Fi­jians pass the de­fence test with fly­ing colours even with 14 men and stop­ping the rolling mauls on a few oc­ca­sions was among the pos­i­tive out­come from the fi­nal dress re­hearsal at home be­fore the Rugby World Cup next month.

SPE­CIAL MO­MENT

Even 35-year-old Vereniki Goneva af­ter scor­ing a try to be­come the Fly­ing Fi­jians top Test try scorer, made a try saving tackle in the dy­ing mo­ments of the game.

NEED TO TIDY UP

Coach John McKee would need to tidy up the loose ends and plan ac­cord­ingly so that the 31-mem­ber squad which he would name on Au­gust 18 peak in time be­fore showdown against the Wal­la­bies in Sap­poro on Septem­ber 21.

RAT­ING (/10)

1. Cam­pese Maa’fu-Strong, a force upfront: 6

2. Sam Matavesi- De­fence awe­some: 7

3. Peni Rava- Held his own upfront: 6

4. Te­vita Cavu­bati- Work rate im­prov­ing, as­set to the team: 6.5

5 Leone Nakarawa- An­other solid 80 min­utes: 7 6.Do­miniko Waqaniburo­tuLed the de­fen­sive ef­fort: 7

7. Semi Ku­natani- Solid per­for­mance: 7

8. Vil­iame Mata- De­fended well: 6

9. Frank Lo­mani- Con­nected, de­liv­ery spot on: 7

10. Ben Volavola- Good game, spot on again:7.5

11. Patrick Os­borne- Can’t beat ex­pe­ri­ence: 6.5

12 Le­vani Bo­tia- An­other solid de­fen­sive game: 6.5

13. Semi Radradra- Im­prov­ing, beat­ing op­po­nent with ease: 7

14 Vereniki Goneva- Tire­less ef­fort from the vet­eran: 7

15. Setareki Tuicuvu- More ef­fort needed: 5

SUB­STI­TUTES

Eroni Mawi, Kali­vati Tawake, Me­su­lame Dolokoto, Te­vita Ratuva, Pe­celi Yato, Nikola Matawalu, Josh Matavesi

YEL­LOW CARD

Pe­celi Yato

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Fiji Airways Fly­ing Fi­jians and Manu Samoa in a scrum bat­tle dur­ing the Pa­cific Na­tions Cup match at Suva’s ANZ Stadium on Au­gust 10, 2019. Fiji won 10-3.

Ja­pan cap­tain Michael Leitch runs in to score the first of his two tries dur­ing the Pa­cific Na­tions Cup clash against USA at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on Au­gust 10, 2019. Ja­pan won 34-20 to win the PNC.Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

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