Former international referee, Glen Jackson has helped the Flying Fijians dramatically improve their discipline at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
While discipline is a key area of the game that has regularly undermined the Pacific Islanders’ cause at the Test level, Jackson as the Flying Fijians’ attack and backs coach is aware of what needs to be done.
Keeping on the right side of the officials while still delivering the intensely physical rugby that makes Fiji such a potent force will continue to be a key factor as they prepare to face Georgia at the weekend with a quarter-final place within touching distance after the win over Australia.
The former Saracens outside half was the first New Zealander to play and referee in 100 first-class fixtures and told the media in France: “You would have heard from coach Simon (Raiwalui) that there are three things that we want to do. One is to play like Fijians, but one of our major ones is discipline. It’s been four games in a row that we’ve conceded under 10 penalties and it was a target for us,” he told RugbyPass.
“We can’t afford to play all this hard rugby and let sides with an easy way into the 22 (metre zone). Most of that, if you look at rugby now, is around discipline and poor penalties.”
Fiji and Georgia have met five times with the Fijians winning three with one loss and a draw in 2021.
The last time the two teams played at the Rugby World Cup was in 2019 when Fiji won 45-10.
“So, we’ve put that as a big onus on the boys, but the boys got to take a lot of credit. They’ve worked really, really hard on the fitness, especially around the offside stuff.”
“We’ve become really disciplined around that. Only one yellow card and we’ve had no real foul play stuff either. We’ve highlighted for 12 weeks that this is something we really have to work on.”
Fiji will face Georgia at 3.45am at Stade de Boudreaux on Sunday.