Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

‘Dug ourselves into a hole’: Fiji beat Ireland but miss Singapore quarters

By Finn Morton
Fiji group together before a match at SVNS Singapore. Picture: World Rugby.

Fiji may have won the battle against Ireland at Singapore’s National Stadium on Saturday afternoon but the two-time defending Olympic gold medallists have still missed out on the Cup quarter-finals.

ADVERTISEMENT

For the first time on the SVNS Series in 2023/24, Fiji will challenge for a best-possible finish of ninth with a frustrating opening day at the Singaporean venue ultimately defining their campaign.

With relatively new coach Osea Kolinisau at the helm, and a pocket of especially passionate vibrant supporters in the stands, Fiji went winless on day one after falling to the USA and Great Britain.

Video Spacer

Chasing the Sun on RugbyPass TV | RPTV

Chasing the Sun, the extraordinary documentary that traces the Springboks’ road to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, is coming to RugbyPass TV.

Watch now

Video Spacer

Chasing the Sun on RugbyPass TV | RPTV

Chasing the Sun, the extraordinary documentary that traces the Springboks’ road to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, is coming to RugbyPass TV.

Watch now

But a new day presents new opportunities. The SVNS Series offers the two best third-ranked sides in pool play to progress through to the quarter-finals but Fiji needed to beat Ireland to be a chance.

Fiji were good enough to defeat the fighting Irish 26-19 on a rainy afternoon, but a ninth-minute conversion from Mark Roche proved significant as the men in green secured a losing bonus point.

Ireland, who were second on the overall Series standings before the event in Singapore, progressed to the next round as the third-ranked side in Pool C, while Fiji finished one point behind in last.

“Mostly disappointed. I think we dug ourselves into a hole today,” coach Osea Kolinisau told RugbyPass. “Ireland is a good side.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We got the win but yesterday, the ball didn’t go our way. Most of the things we talked about to do in those two games we didn’t execute and that’s the SVNS Series for you.

“When you don’t execute you get punished for it.

“It was a big ask for the boys because we come and play against a good Irish side who showed up to play but the points were not enough today.

“More frustration about yesterday. If we had a difficult outcome yesterday it would be a different story beating Ireland today,” he added.

“I think that just overshadows a performance that we wanted. We didn’t play to our standards yesterday and we’ll go back and talk about what we can do better, especially for the Madrid leg.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Coach Kolinisau, who replaced Ben Gollings in the role a couple of months ago, was visibly disappointed after walking off the field. This is a team that expects excellence from themselves.

But sometimes, as Kolinisau had mentioned, “The ball didn’t go our way.” The SVNS Series is ruthless but the Fijians can take some positives from their heartache into the Grand Final in Madrid.

Fiji, who have already qualified as one of the eight teams to compete for the Series’ overall title at Metropolitano Stadium later this month, will have a chance to make amends very soon.

“There’s a lot to learn. When you lose you learn a lot of things about yourselves,” Kolinisau, who won an Olympic gold medal with Fiji at the 2016 Rio Games, explained.

“We were caught out yesterday and that’s something we’ve got to go back and address and try and improve in three-and-a-half weeks’ time before Madrid comes around.

“That’s the beauty of sports and the beauty of this game. You get back to rectify your mistake that you’ve learned from the last tournament.

“There’s a lot of learning and especially on our mental aspect side of things that we’ve got to get right.”

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is live and free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

TRENDING
TRENDING 'I struggle to say Antoine Dupont is the greatest of all time' 'I struggle to say Antoine Dupont is the greatest of all time'
Search