October 3, 2019 / 9:21 AM / 10 days ago

Georgia down but not out after Fiji mauling, says coach Haig

KOBE (Reuters) - Georgia coach Milton Haig says his players were left bitterly disappointed by their performance after being thumped 45-10 by Fiji on Thursday but was confident they would be able to lift themselves off the floor to face Australia in eight days’ time.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool D - Georgia v Fiji - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka, Japan - October 3, 2019 Georgia head coach Milton Haig before the match. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Georgia were unable to impose themselves on the game at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium and had no answer to Fiji’s brilliant backs, who ran the Europeans ragged in the second half.

Winger Semi Radradra was at the heart of all their best moves, scoring two tries and helping set up scores for centre Waisea Nayacalevu, scrumhalf Frank Lomani and fellow winger Josua Tuisova.

In all, the Fijians, who had lost their opening Pool D games to Australia and Uruguay, scored seven tries.

“Once they get in behind you and get their tails up they’re the best at throwing that ball around and scoring tries,” Haig told a news conference.

He said the criticism the Pacific islanders drew from their upset loss to Uruguay had fired them up.

“Pretty sure it did, speaking to their coaches beforehand, certainly they talked about it motivating them.”

While the defeat has not removed them from the quarter-finals equation altogether, Georgia will have to beat Australia in their final game to have any chance of getting through.

“Of course we need to be disappointed, this is not a performance we would have liked to put up for our fans and our family and our friends back in Georgia,” said Haig.

“But the reality is it’s not what you’ve done it’s what you do next that’s the important thing.”

Haig also felt Fiji wing Tuisova was fortunate to escape punishment after his arm caught Alexander Todua on the head late in the first half.

“Definitely think it was an important moment in terms of the first half. It looked clearly on the replay it was around the head, and he was the last defender,” he added.

“Would it have changed the match? Not sure. In the second half they got their tails up.”

Georgia round out the group against the Wallabies on Oct. 11 in Shizuoka.

Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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