Reaction: Fiji see off Canada
September 16, 2007

Suggitt to request review into officiating

Canada head coach Ric Suggitt will request a review of World Cup officiating, after his side were denied a late try in their nail-biting 29-16 defeat to Fiji.

Television official Craig Joubert ruled full-back Mike Pyke had made a double movement as he drove for the line in the 72nd minute - and the score was ruled out.

Had the try stood and been converted, Canada would have closed to within two points with eight minutes still remaining.

Suggitt did not blame that one incident for Canada's defeat - they blew plenty of other chances - but he will voice concerns to the International Rugby Board's referees chief Paddy O'Brien.

"We watched the replay a number of times. He's allowed an immediate movement - and he did that and he placed the ball down in the in-goal area. To me that's a try,'' said Suggitt.

"We are not allowed to say anything about the referees, but I'll turn it on to Paddy O'Brien to make sure when the tournament is done they look at all the officiating.

"There are a lot of missed calls that are happening right now.''

Suggitt suggests officials are struggling to keep up with the pace of the modern game.

Winger James Pritchard soon landed his third penalty, which drew Canada to within a converted try of victory.

The Cannucks then laid siege on the Fijian line but lost control of the ball at the ruck, and Saracens full-back Kameli Ratuvou sprinted 95 metres to score his second of the afternoon with the final play of the game.

Suggitt said: "It's a heart-breaking loss.

"We got so close to the goalline, virtually half-a-metre off the goalline; the ball spills out, and then it's typical Fijian style rugby - they just pick up the ball and sprint 100 metres for the victory.

"If we had stayed just a bit more patient on the goalline we'd be going home with a one-point victory - but `c'est la vie'.

"We should have won the game fair and square.

"We got into the score zone probably four or five times and lost possession - we got isolated, we turned the ball over, made simple handling errors.''

Fiji opened a 15-6 half-time lead with tries from lock Kele Leaware and Ratuvou and moved further clear shortly after the interval when Vilimoni Delasau bulldozed over next to the posts.

But Canada refused to concede defeat and hit back with a try from fly-half Ryan Smith and Pritchard's third to ensure the match was in the balance, heading into the final seconds.

Fiji captain Mosese Rauluni said: "We knew Canada were not going to be any walkovers. Like Japan, they made it very tough for us; sometimes we made it tough for ourselves by making silly mistakes and giving away penalties - and it brought them back into the game.

"It was a tough battle up front. The boys learned a lot about their character - at the end we were defending like last week. The last five minutes, I take my hat off to our forwards. They defended tooth and nail.''

The victory moved Fiji above Wales in Pool B midway through the group stages. But, of wider significance, it also took them a huge step closer to automatic qualification for the 2011 World Cup.

Under newly-introduced regulations, the team finishing third in each pool now earns automatic qualification to the next World Cup.

"To get another five points and be in second place is good for us,'' said Rauluni.

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