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'Pass that back to Eddie' - Fiji coach's message to Jones over kava comments

By Ian Cameron
Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji looks dejected after defeat during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Fiji and Georgia at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 30, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Fiji assistant coach Brad Harris has returned serve at Eddie Jones’ following ‘kava’ comments the embattled Wallabies head coach made about what his team would be doing on their week off.

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The Aussies are effectively seeing out a 7-day stay of execution in Pool C, where results hang on the results of Wales versus Georgia and Fiji versus Portugal.

Yesterday Jones suggested he and his team – who face a likely Rugby World Cup exit after completing all the games – would take some cava to Fiji camp in their week off, presumably in an attempt to put the Flying Fijians off their game against Portugal.

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“I might take some kava to Fiji, think of giving Marika [Koroibete] and Suli [Vunivalu] credit cards and get them to go to the Fijian camp with some kava. Maybe that might work,” joked Jones.

Harris was quizzed on the comments today and he gave as good as he got, joking that he was planning to take the sexagenarian coach’s credit card after they beat Portugal.

“We will take Eddie’s credit card after we beat Portugal. Pass that back to Eddie, we’ll take his credit card to buy some kava for our team function.

Joking aside, the Fijians aren’t taking the Portuguese – one of the Rugby World Cup’s surprise packages – lightly.

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“We have another tough battle,” said Harris. “I thought Wales had to fight really hard to get a win against Portugal, they scored their fourth try in the last play of the game and Portugal had a tonne of momentum in that game. It was pretty similar to Australia, they managed to get their points when Portugal had a player in the sin bin. But for large parts of the game the Portuguese set piece was functioning well and they certainly moved the ball around in attack and really caused some problems.”

Fiji got the win against Georgia on Saturday but it was by far their poorest performance of the tournament to date.

“We have had a pretty good look at the game today [against Georgia], it was a really tough battle. We knew it was going to be. There were certain parts of our game we weren’t happy with so we have identified that and had some really good discussion in the group and we’re looking to iron that out over the next couple of days and improve for Portugal.

“I think the start to our game, I think we knew Georgia were going to be physical and that we had to be quite combative in our game. We made an error off the restart, we had a line-out that didn’t work at the start of the game ether and a few errors on attack. What that did was gave them quite a lot of possession and allowed them to apply a bit of pressure to us and start their game well and get a bit of scoreboard pressure. There are times we are going to be challenged at the start of games and one of the things we need to do is making sure we are executing our role of getting our skill sets right.”

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