Fiji wonder what might have been

Date published: September 19 2015

Fiji boss John McKee was frustrated by how he felt his side let England off the hook at times during the Rugby World Cup opener.

The Pacific Nations Cup winners put heavy pressure on England during the second half, closing the gap to 18-11, but were unable to make the hosts pay for their indiscipilne.

"There's disappointment in the dressing room. We came in with high ambitions and at times our errors and some critical penalties and turnovers allowed England to come back into the game, and stopped us from building momentum," said McKee.

"The set-piece was good, and it needs to be at this level.

"It was the players call on the field to change the kicker. The pressure playing in a big stadium was something they felt and if we could have picked up some points at 18-11 when we were coming back into it then the final quarter could have been different."

The Fiji head coach reluctantly accepted that the high number of referrals to the TMO were necessary to get the right outcome in the match.

"It's frustrating for everyone when those decisions take a little while, but it's part of the game and the officials have to get those decisions right. It helps for a better result if the correct decisions are made."

Looking ahead to Fiji's next match with Australia, McKee stressed the need for his side to combine their desire to move the ball about while playing with patience.

"The message at half-time was to be more patient, to play to our systems. When we had some ball and made some phases I felt we had them under pressure, but critical mistakes let us down. At this level, errors cost you dearly.

"Our players have a great desire to play and they want to run with the ball to look for opportunities, there's just times in the game, especially in Tests, where we need to be more patient."