July 19, 2021
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Players knew their job well, says Cotter

Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter shed his disappointment after their second test loss against the All Blacks in Hamilton on Saturday but said the players were aware of what they needed to do.

Cotter told NZ Rugby media that they had a chat about areas that they needed to improve on, immediately after their 13-60 loss.

Cotter said they were disappointed with the effort but elaborated they had been in the game for the first 30 minutes but started to concede penalties.

"We made it so hard for ourselves and when we did compete I thought we competed well. So the analysis of the game is really simple – take away that rubbish that we gave the opposition team and believe in what we can construct not watch them play but play a bit more ourselves."

Cotter said he felt Fiji was competitive physically and their dynamic speed and explosive energy were also good, but maintaining those qualities was an issue, so their endurance needed work.

And it left them exposed when teams like the All Blacks exploited those failings with lineout drives and double pushes at scrums.

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup in mind, he said, the coaching group felt there was genuine potential in the side, and they wanted to exploit that to see the team perform well in France.

He said if Fiji could knock off rough edges, and get 80-minute performances, they could be a force at the World Cup.

There had also been evidence that when gaining three Australian-based players two days out from the game, they fielded a side, despite a lack of time together, which could offer more experience and variations in the side. That would lead to greater cohesion and confidence when they had more time together, he said.

He also highlighted that until November they would have the players together, and it was a problem all the Pacific coaches were facing. If they had more games before then they could have more analysis to allow them to move teams ahead faster.

Captain Leone Nakarawa said they had shown capability of playing against Tier One nations and also knew if they could improve in the areas Cotter mentioned, they could have success.

He said they would like to play the All Blacks more often, especially to learn about playing the game with more intensity that would help them.

By Romeka Romena

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