Rugby World Cup
Fiji refuse to make excuses despite horror Cup draw
Sam Bruce
October 1, 2015
Wales miss out on bonus point, France continue winning run (video available in Australia only)

Fiji coach John McKee is refusing to blame his side's tough schedule following a third straight defeat at Rugby World Cup 2015, despite the fact they've had to play three of the game's heavyweights inside two weeks.

The Pacific Islanders pushed Wales all the way in a pulsating encounter at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium on Thursday night before two late penalties from Dan Biggar allowed the 2011 semi-finalists to escape with a 10-point win.

But the result was anything but certain midway through the second-half as Wales began to feel the effects of Saturday night's emotional victory over England at Twickenham.

Still, Warren Gatland's side now have over a week to prepare and recover for what may yet be a quarter-final deciding encounter against Australia while Fiji, again, face a short turnaround before their final clash with Uruguay on Tuesday; not that McKee was making any excuses.

Fiji pushed Wales all the way in a tough, physical match
Fiji pushed Wales all the way in a tough, physical match© Phil Walter/Getty Images

"The schedule's the schedule, you can't sort of change the schedule, we knew what the schedule was and that's what it is," the Fiji coach replied when asked whether it was fair his side had faced England, Australia and Wales all within the space of a fortnight.

"I'm not sure what the ramifications are of how you can organise a Rugby World Cup; I guess they have to do it within a certain timeframe and, for the number of games, that's the luck of the draw.

Warburton: One of the toughest matches I've played

"I mean we can sit here all day and talk about hypotheticals but that's what it is. We knew what it is when we came here and that's what we played."

While Wales now have eight days to regroup ahead of their clash with the Wallabies, there is little doubt they battled fatigue themselves on Thursday night.

Skipper Sam Warburton understands the frustrations of the lower-tier nations and, like Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, said talk of a potentially crucial bonus point pre-match was out of order.

"Yeah, I thought that was one of the tougher Test matches I've played in," he said. "The first half, I was worried that Gats [coach Warren Gatland] was going to pull me off because I was running around too slowly; I was exhausted.

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"But none of the players spoke about that until after the game because we didn't want any sort of negative talk around the group; but I think everyone found it tough. And that's when I realised, that match, a bonus point was going to be extremely tough to get and I think that's disrespectful to Fiji to talk about bonus points before the game because we knew that with only a five-day turnaround it was going to be one of the tougher Test matches we've played in.

"You could tell, you know, the celebrations after the England win last week - the change room was absolutely bouncing. And this week it was a completely different feel because the boys are absolutely shattered. So I do really feel for some of the other Tier 3 nations who have to go through that turnaround, you know it was extremely tough - especially at this level."

Wales were pushed to the limits, but were able to rally in the closing minutes © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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