26 Sep 2019

Rugby World Cup: Fiji's tournament hopes hang by thread

6:24 am on 26 September 2019

Fiji admit their Rugby World Cup quarter finals hopes are hanging by a thread after crashing to a 30-27 defeat by Uruguay in Kamaishi.

Fiji's centre Jale Vatubua (C) is tackled by Juan Manuel Cat (L) and flanker Santiago Civetta (R).

Fiji's centre Jale Vatubua (C) is tackled by Juan Manuel Cat (L) and flanker Santiago Civetta (R). Photo: AFP or licensors

The Flying Fijians had won the three previous encounters against the South Americans, including a 61 point thrashing in November last year.

Despite outscoring their opponents five tries to two and dominating almost every other statistic coach John McKee said key mistakes at critical times proved costly.

"We made too many fundamental errors in the game and Uruguay capitalised on them," he said.

"If we had been a little more patient at times maybe the result could have been different but in the first half Uruguay really capitalised on errors and three tries from our mistakes and then we were chasing the game, which put us under a lot of pressure."

McKee said the four-day turnaround from their first match made things difficult but that was no excuse for the performance.

"In hindsight you could say if we did this or if we did that, or if this player played it might have been different but...our goal-kicking was a factor in the game.

"I think we only kicked one goal and when you lose by such a narrow margin the goal-kicking could have made a difference but there are a lot of things we could have done better in the game as well so you can't narrow it down to one thing," McKee said.

Fiji have just two points from their opening two games and, even if they can beat Georgia and Wales, will be sweating on the outcome of other games to give them a shot at reaching the knockout rounds.

Hooker Mesulame Dolokoto said while the team was disappointed he said they couldn't do anything about the game now and must continue to learn from their mistakes and move onto the next game.

Star forward Leone Nakarawa said they would keep trying their best no matter what.

"Uruguay played well and better than us but we have to get up again and we need to keep on fighting, whatever happens."

John McKee admitted Fiji faced a massive challenge.

"We'll be relying a lot on other points now but for us we really focus on our match against Georgia in eight days time.

"That's the only goal for us at the moment is to play well in that match - firstly the objective of winning that match and then, if we can, securing a bonus point," he said.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee. Photo: RNZ Pacific