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All Black great tells Fiji they face World Cup 'final'

By Chris Jones
Wales v Fiji – Rugby World Cup 2023 – Pool C – Stade de Bordeaux

Former All Black Daryl Gibson has told the Fiji players their clash with Australia in St Entienne on Sunday is their “final” as defeat would ruin their Rugby World Cup quarter final hopes.

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The controversial 26-32 loss to Wales on Sunday has left Fiji needing to defeat Australia something they have not achieved in previous tournaments.

At the 2019 World Cup, Fiji were beaten by Australia 39-21 having lost 28-13 in their 2015 clash and 55-12 in the 2007 World Cup.

Gibson, the Fiji backs coach, told the Fiji Times:“Australia is our final now. We know that we need to beat Australia to stay in the competition. That’s a pretty simple formula. Getting two bonus points (against Wales) might be crucial, but it will only be crucial if we win the struggle.

“We’ve proven we can compete against Tier 1 nations and we proved that against England and the close game against Wales. We have a big task, but it’s not over — nothing is impossible.

“The message to the boys at half-time (against Wales) was that we’ve trained in much higher intensities and longer ball in play times. So we’ve got the legs in us as shown by the strong bench that came on and got us close to victory.”

Fiji outside half Teti Tela echoed those words and said: “We knew we were going to have to work hard to beat the Welsh and we probably left a little bit out there on the field and gave them the opportunity through lack of discipline and a few handling errors which sort of keep them in the game.

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“We gave ourselves in another opportunity at the end to win the game potentially. I’m proud of the boys for their efforts and thank them for instilling their trust in me throughout the week.We’ll take our learnings directly from this.

“Against the Wallabies, we will be ready. We can’t be looking over our shoulders too much because we know it’s the Rugby World Cup, we need to walk up and we’ve got to put those points on the board.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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