Fiji coach proud despite loss

10:41 am on 24 September 2015

Fiji coach John McKee was full of praise for his players' performance against Australia, just five days after their opening match at the Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies prevailed 28-13 in Cardiff to get their campaign off to a winning start.

Despite coming up short on the scoreboard, the Flying Fijians actually finished the match with more possession, territory, line-breaks and offloads than the Wallabies.

Australian flanker Scott Fardy tackles Fijian flanker Peceli Yato during the 2015 Rugby World Cup between Australia and Fiji at the Millennium stadium.

Australian flanker Scott Fardy tackles Fijian flanker Peceli Yato during the 2015 Rugby World Cup between Australia and Fiji at the Millennium stadium. Photo: AFP

David Pocock scored either side of a yellow card to Fiji prop Campese Ma'afu to give Australia a commanding 18-3 lead at the break.

Wallabies number eight David Pocock is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Fiji.

Wallabies number eight David Pocock is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Fiji. Photo: AFP

Sekope Kepu's score shortly after half-time extended Australia's advantage before Ben Volavola sliced through the defence to dot down and give the Fijians brief hope.

Fiji-born centre Tevita Kuridrani was carded in the final minutes for not releasing his cousin Nemani Nadolo in the tackle but the Wallabies held on for victory, although they were denied a bonus point.

Cousins Tevita Kuridrani (Australia) and Nemani Nadolo (Fiji) embrace following their team's Rugby World Cup clash in Cardiff.

Cousins Tevita Kuridrani (Australia) and Nemani Nadolo (Fiji) embrace following their team's Rugby World Cup clash in Cardiff. Photo: AFP

John McKee says in the end Australia were simply too good.

"We came here with high ambitions for this game and thought that if we could be at our very best we could get a win. Credit to the Wallabies they played very well. I thought for periods in the first half we had control in the game but some errors crept in and a team like Australia are very very good at capitalising on that and took their opportunities. For our boys, an excellent second half - the effort was amazing. To back up after it's very hard to play England and then Australia five days later at such high intensity test matches - it's really a credit to our players the way they played tonight.

The Flying Fijians have picked up some injury concerns, however, with winger Waisea Nayacalevu and halfback Nikola Matawalu forced from the field during the match.

The team now has an eight-day break before their next match against Wales.