Nathan Graham energetically praises Scotland despite leaving for World Cup
Scotland’s head coach Nathan Graham felt his team “rattling” Fiji as they bowed out of the Rugby League World Cup with a 30-14 defeat at Kingston Park.
Fiji scored five tries, all converted by Brandon Wakeham, as they took consecutive wins in Group B and condemned the Bravehearts to a third straight defeat.
However, the Scots scored three tries of their own, including a fantastic performance from Lachlan Walmsley, and Graham was proud of his side’s efforts.
He said: “It’s disappointing to be out of the tournament. On the other hand, we’ve been talking all week about putting together a performance against one of the better countries in this World Cup and I thought we did that today.
“We’ve lost quite a few senior players to injuries that piled up before the game, so Thursday we had a withdrawal, yesterday we had a withdrawal, so we’re down to the bone in terms of selection, so to come up with a performance that Fiji upset tonight, I think we made ourselves proud.
“We deserved to put on a performance for each other and I think we went out and gave absolutely 100 percent, that’s what we talked about before the game and half-time.
“I am proud of that achievement. Like we said, we needed it as a group and when we dug really deep this week and came up with that, I think everyone should be really proud of it. ”
Fiji interim coach Wise Kativerata admitted his side needed the test Scotland offered as they look ahead to the quarter-finals.
He said: “We needed it today. We had to work on our attack because we worked hard on our defense. We’re going to look at both sides of the game, our attack and work on our defense.”
Fiji’s win in front of 6,736 fans saw them secure back-to-back wins in the group and set up a final eight clash with New Zealand, and Kativerata believes they have momentum behind them.
He said: “We have to look at how we have performed as a coaching staff this week. We know we have the team to play against New Zealand, we just have to go Monday, turn on and on, we train and work towards New Zealand.
“We can take the momentum, we have a lot of head start in our squad. If you look at the squad, we have the younger squad, so when we play our football style, our energy goes up, everything goes up.”