Kicking Irks Coach Mckee
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.
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.
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
Eroni Mawi, Kalivati Tawake, Mesulame Dolokoto, Tevita Ratuva, Peceli Yato, Nikola Matawalu, Josh Matavesi
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