Rugby World Cup
Fiji coach John McKee rejects talk of replacing Eddie Jones in Japan
Robert Bartlett
October 7, 2015
Fiji could become a force

STADIUM MK, Milton Keynes -- Fiji head coach John McKee has played down speculation linking him with the Japan job. Current Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones has admitted he will listen to an approach from the Rugby Football Union, should Stuart Lancaster leave his role as England head coach following the hosts' early World Cup exit, and McKee has been touted as a potential replacement for the Australian who will leave Japan after the tournament to take over South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers.

However, speaking after Fiji's 47-15 victory over Uruguay on Wednesday, McKee laughed off the suggestions and said: "I am committed to Fiji." The New Zealander was impressed seeing his side bow out of the World Cup with their first win, following successive Pool A defeats by England, Wales and Australia.

"It was a tough game on a wet and greasy night," he said of the Pacific Islanders' victory in Milton Keynes. "I thought the boys did quite well for all of the game. The wet conditions probably helped us a little. Credit to Uruguay, they were really tenacious, particularly in defence. "We have got a talented squad and we have had some huge challenges, especially around the first three games. We came with high ambitions and we believed we could roll over one or two of the bigger teams but it didn't happen so it was important to get a good win tonight."

Fiji coach John McKee looks on before the international match between Wales and Fiji at Millennium Stadium
Fiji coach John McKee © Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Lock Leone Nakawara, who scored Fiji's third try against Los Teros at Stadium MK, was quick to highlight the importance of McKee staying with the Pacific Islanders.

"He's done amazing things for us," Nakawara said. "I'm the leader of the lineout and he told me that he doesn't sleep because he wants our lineout to be 90% [success rate] every game; sometimes we fall short, maybe 80%. Sometimes he will call us at 10pm and he always tells me, because of him analysing our opposition, sometimes he doesn't sleep well because he wants our lineout to be 100%. He's been sacrificing so well for this team."

Lepani Botia of Fiji is loses the ball in a tackle from Agustin Ormaechea of Uruguay, but a penalty try was awarded due to an illegal tackle, Fiji v Uruguay, Rugby World Cup, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes, October 6, 2015
Agustin Ormaechea's illegal tackle jars the ball loose from Lepani Botia, with Fiji awarded a penalty try © Getty Images

Nakawara showed tremendous footwork and sleight of hand to race clear and ground during an action-packed first half, and the Glasgow Warriors star reflected: "It was my most memorable moment - scoring my first try at this World Cup and it was in the last game. I was very happy. That's how we Fijians play. We must play with flair. If we follow the structured game, it's kind of 50-50 and we won't get the result."

And Nakawara had special thanks for the 30,048-strong crowd in Buckinghamshire, which was later confirmed as a stadium record for the third time this World Cup.

"The crowd was pretty special -- it was great to experience the atmosphere of a 30,000 crowd," Nakawara told ESPN. "There were a lot of Fiji supporters so I want to thank them for cheering us on.

"Even though we lost our first three games, they continued to support us. We wanted to finish on a high, so I want to thank the boys for the effort they gave. I'm proud of the boys and how we've represented the country."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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