Fiji has lapped up Eddie Jones’ cheeky suggestion he’d derail the little island nation’s Rugby World Cup campaign with a courtesy visit to give them kava.
With the Wallabies needing Fiji to lose to Portugal for them to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-finals, the head coach joked he might resort to unconventional methods.
Kava is a drink enjoyed across the Pacific that acts as a depressant, slowing down the central nervous system.
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The curly answer came after once again being prodded about his future with the Wallabies and Rugby Australia, who have to wait a week in France to learn their quarter-finals fate.
« I am going to have three days off then three days of training so I’m heavily involved, » said Jones.
« That’s the only answer I am going to give you at this stage. I don’t mean to be rude, but I have got to focus on coaching this week. It’s three days off.
« Do you want to know where I’m going to go? I’ll have to make something up as I have no idea at this stage… Maybe take some kava to Fiji, maybe that might work.
« I’m thinking of giving Marika (Koroibete) and (Suliasi) Vunivalu credit cards. »
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Fiji assistant coach Brad Harris duly returned serve – suggesting there’ll be no losing to Portugal come Monday.
« We will take Eddie’s credit card after we beat Portugal, » said Harris.
« Pass that back to Eddie, we’ll take his credit card to buy some kava for our team function. »
Fiji aren’t taking their final pool match against Portugal lightly.
Although Os Lobos remain winless in this year’s tournament, the Flying Fijians still see them as a threat.
« I thought Wales had to fight really hard to get a win against Portugal, they scored their fourth try in the last play of the game and Portugal had a tonne of momentum in that game, » said Harris.
« It was pretty similar to Australia, they managed to get their points when Portugal had a player in the sin bin.
« For large parts of the game the Portuguese set piece was functioning well and they certainly moved the ball around in attack and really caused some problems. »
It’s been more than a decade since Portugal last featured at a Rugby World Cup.
Coincidentally, their last appearance was in 2007 in France.
There’s been a marked improvement for the team since. Last time, they conceded 209 points. That included a 108-13 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand.
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This year, they’ve only conceded 80 points with one match remaining with their worst result being their 34-14 loss to Australia.
« When we played in 2007 our team was full of amateur players, » said Portugal’s assistant coach Luis Pissarra.
« I am a vet for instance, we had two in the team – and two doctors. It was really amateur stuff. Now half the team is playing professional. »
The match between Fiji and Portugal represents the final game in pool play at the Rugby World Cup, getting underway on Monday at 6am.