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Crucial lesson

Elenoa Baselala In Wellington, New Zealand
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE Italians may have lost 10-38 to Fiji, but they taught the Vodafone Fiji Bati players an important lesson — to keep their cool.

Petero Civoniceva said last Saturday's match at the Canberra Stadium between the two sides saw tempers boiling over more than once on the field and even in the grandstand with fans.

"In the first half, the Italians certainly put a lot of pressure on us, but to be honest there were a lot of offside in their play," Civoniceva said.

"From the coach's box, we could see that they were blatantly offside, being in front of the referee most of the time.

"By the time we got the ball, we had no chance to move around, it was frustrating us but we as Mick (Potter) said, cannot make excuses about how referees perform but we just need to make use of what's in front of us.

"They were using these tactics to offset us in our play. For most parts, we just couldn't get any rhythm in those first 40 minutes'."

A dressing-down in the locker room at half time by coach Mick Potter on what the players needed to and fix settled the players and they went on to win the match.

"If anything it was a good learning curve on how we have to really focus on our play and not to get flustered.

"And when we do that like we did in the second half against Italy, we scored points," he said.

The national rugby league team arrived in Wellington late on Sunday night.

Half of the players who live in Sydney were released to meet their families and later join the team when they travelled to New Zealand.

On Monday, the side had only one gym session and rested for the rest of the day.

The temperature in Wellington is about 11 degrees Celsius.

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