Earlier in the week we had a look at the big hits from the Samoans during their win over Australia, so today here’s a look at Fiji against Japan . Unfortunately for the Fijians, things went slightly differently, ending the match with just 12 players.
Many were surprised with Japan’s first ever Pacific Nations Cup victory, and while they played well and have improved tremendously over the years, the Fijians self destructed.
Two red cards and three yellows later, Japan were able to score a late bonus point try, that gave them the tournament win. If they hadn’t scored that try, Tonga would have claimed the title.
Fiji have since had two players suspended, Sisa Koyamaibole and Waisea Luveniyali. They will not be part of the match against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Friday night.
Number Eight Koyamaibole was given a two week ban for the tackle that earned him a red card, while flyhalf Luyeniyali, who was yellow carded in extra time, has been suspended for four weeks. Seru Rabeni, who was also red carded, escaped a ban.
While the commentary team felt the officials got most things completely wrong, Fiji coach Sam Domoni acknowledged that it was the lack of discipline from his team that lost them the match.
“It’s unacceptable. We can’t win test matches with 12 men. We can’t blame the referees for the calls against us. We will go back to see the footage and review where we went wrong,” he said.
Fiji play the All Blacks at Carisbrook, the last Test ever to be held at the famous old stadium, so they know the significance and sense of occasion it carries.
“Playing the All Blacks is like playing in the World Cup — it only comes around every four years. The guys that are here are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow night. Playing against the All Blacks, you dont need any more motivation, if thats the case then we shouldnt turn up.
“This is a once in a lifetime dream for all of us … well grab it with both hands and take the opportunity,” he said.
Do you agree with the decisions of the officials, or think the commentators are correct?