Brett White gains Aston plaudits after Fiji battle

Ireland coach Mark Aston praised Canberra prop Brett White for standing up to the Fiji pack during a fearsome battle at Spotland on Monday night.

The Fijians, cheered on by a partisan sell-out crowd, were brutal in the tackle at times, laying the platform for a 32-14 win.

Aston’s men struggled with ball in hand as a result, but the coach was proud of how his charges dealt with the physicality of the Pacific islanders.

White played a total of 67 minutes, making 36 tackles and 19 carries for a total of 109 metres, according to the Opta stats.

Aston said: “We can take a lot of positives. You’ve got to single out Brett White, he was the best player on the field by a country mile.

“We’ve only been together for 10 days and at times we showed a lot of character. We should have put more pressure on them to get a result.”

Ireland were 10-0 down inside the first 13 minutes, before the game got tasty. Fiji‘s physical approach saw them get on the wrong side of referee Phil Bentham on a number of occasions, and Ireland took advantage through a Tyrone McCarthy score.

Fiji stretched their lead to 18-4 by the 54th minute, and then squeezed the remaining life out of Ireland, as Aston’s men struggled to impose themselves in attack.

Aston added: “A lot of people are saying we were a bit rusty in the first period. All credit to them, Fiji were very good and they were very quick out of the blocks and it took us a little bit of time to get in to it.

“Once we got back into it and got a bit of rhythm, we got ourselves back into the game. We are a little bit disappointed because we knew we could have got a little bit closer, and maybe we could have taken it at the end.

“We have to take a lot of things out of this, we are in the toughest group and we are looking forward to it (England on Saturday).”

After the game against England, Ireland return home to host Australia in Limerick on Saturday November 9.

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