THE effects of northern hemisphere club rugby has caught the attention of Flying Fijians coach Inoke Male.
This followed his side's humiliating loss 54-12 to England at Twickenham Stadium yesterday morning. The former national 15s number eight says most Europe-based players had lost their Fijian flair while contracted to northern-based clubs.
England scored seven tries and Fiji managed only two tries which was scored by Glasgow Warriors scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu and replacement lock Sekonaia Kalou.
Male told the media after the team's loss that his side was weakened by the northern rugby influence on Fijian players.
And he revealed that it was one of the contributing factors to the huge loss in their opening game of the autumn tour.
"Some of the boys who came to Europe have lost their touch in Europe," Male said.
"The Fijian players are more dangerous when they have the ball in hand.
"We didn't have that today (yesterday) and I think that's why we lost the game," he said after the match.
England stormed to a 25-0 lead at the break. England's tries were scored by Charlie Sharples, Manu Tuilagi, Ugo Monye, Tom Johnson and a penalty try which was awarded by referee Glen Jackson of New Zealand.
Sharples and Tuilagi grabbed a brace of tries each while flyhalf Toby Flood slotted four conversions and three penalties.
Replacement Owen Farrell also nailed a conversion. Josh Matavesi added the extra two points after Kalou touched down Fiji's second try in the dying stages of the game.
Male said Fiji did not have the luxury of having players who were committed to their clubs'. Male said
"We lost some of the boys earlier in the week. Some of them weren't released by clubs and some were not available until the last minute, about four players.
"Had they been available, we would have given England a game. Unfortunately, we haven't got the luxury of having players together for two weeks, like England, we had three days together," he said.