Nathan Graham “proud” of spirited Scotland despite World Cup exit

Scotland Rugby League 2021 World Cup Nathan Graham PA Credit: Alamy
Scotland Rugby League 2021 World Cup Nathan Graham PA Credit: Alamy

Scotland coach Nathan Graham felt his team “rattled” Fiji as they bowed out of the World Cup with a 30-14 defeat at Kingston Park.

Fiji scored five tries, all converted by Brandon Wakeham. They secured back-to-back wins in Group B and condemned the Bravehearts to a third straight loss.

The Scots scored three tries of their own, though, including a fantastic length-of-the-field effort from Lachlan Walmsley; and Graham was proud of his side’s efforts.

He said: “It’s disappointing to be knocked out the tournament. On the flip side of that we talked about all week putting a performance together against one of the better nations in this World Cup and I thought we did that today.

“We lost quite a few senior players through injury building up to the game, so Thursday we had some pull out, yesterday we had a pull-out, so we’re sort of down to the bare bones squad-wise, so to come up with a performance that’s rattled Fiji tonight, I think we’ve done ourselves proud.

“We deserved to put a performance together for each other and I think we’ve gone out and given absolutely 100% which is what we spoke about pre-game and half-time.

“I’m proud of that performance. Like we said we needed it as a group and when we’ve dug really deep this week and come up with that I think everyone should be really proud of it.”

Fiji boss says they needed Scotland test ahead of quarter-finals

Fiji interim coach Wise Kativerata admitted his side needed the test Scotland provided as they look ahead to the quarter-finals.

He said: “We needed it today. We needed to work on our attack because we’ve been working hard on our defence. We’re going to look at both sides of the game, at our attack and work on our defence.”

Fiji’s win in front of 6,736 fans saw them secure back-to-back wins in the group. They face New Zealand in the quarters, and Kativerata believes they have momentum behind them.

He said: “We’ve got to look at how we performed this week as a coaching staff. We know we’ve got the team to play New Zealand. We’ve just got to go Monday, switch on and turn it on, we train and work towards New Zealand.

“We can take the momentum, we’ve got a lot of upside in our squad. When you look at the squad we’ve got the younger squad, so when we play our style of football our energy goes up, everything goes up.”

More World Cup content

Australia 66-6 Italy: Kangaroos in quarter-finals after flying through groups

Fiji 30-14 Scotland: Bravehearts out of World Cup after spirited defeat

England 94-4 Greece: Shaun Wane’s side run in 17 tries to finish top of Group A

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