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Sewabu wants U20 to lift game

Zanzeer Singh
Friday, December 01, 2017

VODAFONE Fiji under-20 coach Koli Sewabu expects his players to rise to the challenge against Tonga in the second match of the Oceania U20 Trophy at Churchill Park in Lautoka tomorrow.

This is after the two teams fought out a 15-all draw in the opening fixture at the same venue on Tuesday.

Tomorrow's fixture is crucial with the winner gaining Oceania's spot at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Trophy competition.

Sewabu expressed disappointment with Tuesday's result saying the boys did not stick to the game plan.

He said there was some individual play and a high penalty count which resulted in Tonga fly half Nautu'a Netane Masima nailing five kicks.

"I'm very disappointed with the result to be honest," the former Flying Fijians flanker said.

"There are a lot of areas that we need to improve. One was the aimless kicking. It is something that we did not train for. It's about getting the message back to the boys about the purpose of kicking.

"We got our exit strategies to get out of our danger zone and also to kick for territory if we need to.

"A few of the boys decided to do chip kicks and just gave away crucial position to Tonga which could have cost us the game.

"The second area is discipline. We gave away quite a number of penalties. We have to look at our line speed from the ruck making sure that we adjust it.

"Another major concern was our lack of continuity and ball retention. We gained a lot of good ground with 50, 60 metre breaks but for some reason we forced 50, 50 passes or could not hold on to the ball."

Fiji was placed sixth in the 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy competition in Uruguay. The national squad members held a recovery session in Nadi yesterday.

Sewabu said there were no injury concerns. He said the boys were aware of the importance of Saturday's game.

"It is just a lot of niggling stuff like muscle tightness," Sewabu said.

"That is something that we are working on with the physiotherapists especially with those boys in the crucial positions.

"It is a very important game for us otherwise there will be no program for the U20s next year. The boys understand that.

"We need to get them into the right frame of mind and make sure that when they get on the field, they make really good decisions.

"Judging by the way Tonga played in the first game, I think we could have put them away early in the first half by taking hold of all the opportunities that came our way but we did not. So I have to admire Tonga for their patience and smart play against us for the 80 minutes.

"We are hoping for a bigger support from the fans this Saturday to cheer us on so we can qualify for next year."

The match will kick off at 5pm.

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