The subbing of Suva prop Leeroy Atalifo in the 75th minute of the match between Fiji and Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup at Milton Keyne has reiterated the success of the coaching staff in preparing a class team for the competition.
The records in the World Rugby shows 100 percent success in winning own scrums in the match against the South Americans which indicates Atalifo’s continuation of Manasa Saulo’s clean slate in the three matches before.
Fiji won nine of their own scrums and two tightheads while Uruguay lost all four of their put in during scrums which displayed the improvement in the set pieces which has been Fiji’s main weakness.
The second penalty try awarded which had been Fiji’s cause of concern and stress during matches against Tier One nations has finally been a show of strength in the game against Uruguay.
The replacement of Atalifo by Taniela Koroi as tighthead prop needs to be applauded by all Fijian fans that the one area of weakness that has doggedly weakened the game has really improved.
Scrum coach Alan Muir has to be credited for the hard work put into the scrums and the practice that has been put in to turn the scrum around for the Flying Fijians.
Even though the team lost three matches in a row to Tier One teams, Fiji will need to regroup and work on the backs to make it count for points in scoring tries and kicking in penalties.
Head coach John McKee has also identified a project to prepare young Fijian players who have the size and build to be coached and prepared to play the front row at international level with the help of World Rugby.