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McKee attempts to explain embarassing Fiji loss

By Ian Cameron
Fiji coach John McKee

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Reporting from Japan: Fiji head coach John McKee has attempted to explain Fiji’s shock 30-27 defeat to Uruguay at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium.


Fiji beat the same opposition by over 60 points less than a year previously, but it was the largely amateur outfit that came away with the spoils this time out.

It was just the third time in RWC history a team lost despite scoring two tries more than their opponents. On both previous occasions, that team lost to England – Argentina in 1995 and Wales in 2003.

“First and foremost, I have to congratulate Uruguay on the way that they played today. They had a lot of passion and they worked very hard as a team and got what was, for them, a great result.

“For us, obviously with the short turnaround, though it isn’t an excuse, it is a challenge. We made too any fundamental errors in the game and Uruguay capitalised on them and were more patient at times and put us under a lot of pressure.”

The New Zealander also claimed that Fiji didn’t underestimate their opponents.


“I hope that we didn’t and it was one of the things that we spoke about. We knew that, for us, coming off the short turnaround and it being their first game of the tournament, that they would be very focused on this match and it would be an opportunity for them.

“That was something we looked at and we tried to take the same mindset into the game as we took into the Australia game. This is the sport that we play and you cannot predict the outcome, and great credit goes to Uruguay for how they worked in the game and for each other and to get what is quite a historic result.”

McKee also attempted to explain the goal-kicking, which saw Fiji convert just one attempt at goal.


“Obviously, in hindsight, we could say that we could have done things differently. Yes, today our goal-kicking was a factor in the game. We only kicked one goal, and with such a narrow margin in the score-line, the goal-kicking would have made a difference. However, there was a lot of other things we could have done well in the game, so you can’t narrow it down to one thing.”

Fiji have now lost their first two matches at RWC 2019. Only two teams managed to survive an RWC pool phase despite two defeats: Fiji in 1987 and France in 2011.

“It is going to be challenging for us. We are relying a lot on other points now and, for us, we just have to focus on our match against Georgia in eight days’ time. That is the only focus for us now, to play well in that match and winning the game, and, if we can, securing the bonus point.”

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