VODAFONE Fiji under-20 head coach Salimoni Ravouvou believes more concentration is needed at the lower age group level in a bid to strengthen its national under-20 squad.
The Fiji U20 team went down to Italy 22-17 at the International Rugby Board Junior World Championship 12th place playoffs in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday.
The loss has relegated Fiji to the IRB World Junior Trophy Championship in Portugal next year.
Josese Kurukava and Vasikali Mudu scored a try each against Italy. Dion Fraser kicked a penalty and conversion. Replacement Tubuka Vueti kicked the other conversion.
Fiji failed to win its matches in pool play going down to Wales 48-19, France 37-5 and Ireland 38-0. In the semi-final playoffs for ninth position, Fiji lost to Argentina 38-12.
Ravouvou said they are disappointed with the result.
He said the boys gave their best until the final whistle against Italy.
"They are very honest players and have sacrificed a lot since December," Ravouvou said.
"As head coach I have to accept the loss and apologise to the nation. The boys worked hard on and off the field. They are proud to represent the nation.
"Our development needs to start from a young age. We need a good structure from the under-14 coming up teaching the boys the basics like the scrums and line-outs.
"The countries we faced identify their talents at a very young age and retain their core players until this tournament. By that time some of them represent the top clubs and even their nations."
England won the tournament beating South Africa 21-20.