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'We should have beaten Wales' - What Cotter wants from Fiji ahead of World Cup

By Chris Jones
PA

The Flying Fijians will step up their preparations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France with November tests against Ireland and Scotland and a match with the French Barbarians.

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Fiji head coach Vern Cotter wants to see a more clinical attitude from his squad and highlighted the chance to beat Wales in the Autumn test series as evidence of the ground that still needs to be made up before the World Cup when they will be in the same pool as the Welsh, Australia, Georgia and the final qualifier.

Wales won 38-23 in November in Cardiff after wing Eroni Sau was sent off for a swinging arm that connected with Wales back Johnny Williams in the 25th minute when Fiji led 13-7. Cotter, who was unable to be at the match due to travel restrictions, also saw him men pick up two yellow cards.

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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots
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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots

Cotter, who has made his first visit to Fiji due to travel restrictions after being appointed two years ago, is preparing for July Tests against Tonga and Samoa and said: “We’re not wasting time and we have to get better in every game. Come the World Cup we’ve got to be stronger, tough and mentally tougher. We (Flying Fijians) should have beaten Wales but we gave it away in those last few minutes.

“We should work on how to manage our game right to the final whistle. It makes a big difference to win by three points or to lose by three.”

Cotter said the Fijian Drua players needed to step-up when it comes to playing for the Flying Fijians alongside World class talent including European-based stars Semi Radradra, Levani Botia and Waisea Nayacalevu.

Significantly, Cotter was heartened by the level of skills displayed during the Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship and said: “I was impressed with the Nadroga side as they had a young team with some players from the HPU (High Performance Unit).

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“Despite the wet conditions the Nadroga players were making those passes and creating spaces as well. The scrums were good too and there are lots of talents.”

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