"Didn't go our way" - Fiji's captain Nayacalevu blasts referee in England defeat - Ruck

“Didn’t go our way” – Fiji’s captain Nayacalevu blasts referee in England defeat

In the matchup in Marseille, Fiji scored three tries to England’s two but ultimately succumbed to a 30-24 defeat.

This result was mainly due to England’s captain, Owen Farrell, who contributed significantly with 20 points, featuring five successful penalty kicks.

During the game, Fiji’s wing Vinaya Habosi received a yellow card in the first half for a head-on-head collision with Marcus Smith. However, Nayacalevu expressed more significant frustration with the officiating of the breakdowns, particularly highlighting the decisions made by France’s Mathieu Raynal.

“I’m very emotional at the moment, a lot has been happening in the week, and I’m just proud of the boys,” said Nayacalevu, whose Fiji side has had to deal with two family bereavements during the tournament.

“A few calls didn’t go our way. We’re just fighting, I just ask that we can have a fair decision when the team plays,” he added.

“Already the ruck was formed and (England’s Maro) Itoje just came in and grabbed the ball — three times in the game.”

When questioned about whether he believed this indicated an inherent unconscious favoritism in referees’ minds towards larger teams such as England, Nayacalevu expressed a clear and unambiguous opinion.

“Absolutely! You guys watched the game, you guys can answer that,” he told reporters.

“It kills the momentum of our game, of what we want to play, if you know what I mean.”

Three changes Steve Borthwick should make for Rugby World Cup semi-final

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Below, we look at three possible changes head coach Steve Borthwick could make for the semi-final in Paris next weekend.

#1. Marcus Smith

Telegraph 5/10: “Lord he was in the wars. Whether having Semi Radradra bouncing him in the tackle, Josua Tuisova ragdolling him, or going for an HIA, Smith showed huge heart. Jury out whether he will stay at full back for the semi-final.”

Rugby Pass 6.5/10: “Picked for just his second start in the full-back position, he worked well with some early ball but got caught on a run from inside his own half with England 8-0 up and that turnover resulted in a missed Fijian shot at the posts. Soon took a smack to the head from the yellow-carded Vinaya Habosi on a carry in the lead-up to the Marchant try. Returned to resume playing a very capable part in the win despite the need for further on-pitch running repairs.”

Planet Rugby 6/10: “As Steve Borthwick predicted, Fiji didn’t test his aerial skills, but Smith didn’t really cut loose. Conceded one penalty when trying to counter, but he did mop up well at times and that extra pair of eyes helped Owen Farrell.”

Evening Standard 6/10: “Rode out one extremely risky break and dealt with a broken nose to add just enough poise to England’s back-field set-up.”

Mail Online 5/10: “Battered and bruised in the contact area, with blood pouring down his face. Tackling in the backfield very different to front-line defending as he found out the hard way.”

Replacement: Freddie Steward