Fiji were punished for mistakes in quarter-final, admits Wise Kativerata

Sebastian Sternik
Nelson Asofa-Solomona New Zealand SWpix SEO keyword Wise Kativerata

Photo: Will Palmer/

Fiji’s interim head coach Wise Kativerata was left “proud” of his team’s efforts following their dramatic defeat to New Zealand. 

The Bati had reached the semi-final stage in three straight World Cups, however their run came to an end following a 24-18 defeat in Hull. 

Fiji took the lead early and maintained their advantage heading into the final 10 minutes. Despite this, the Kiwis were able to mount a late comeback to avenge their loss to the Bati from the 2017 quarter-final.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” said Kativerata after the match. “They hung in there until the last minute. Can’t fault their effort.

“When you play against the experienced sides, you’re going to do the best you can. I’m proud of what they achieved. When you look at our squad, we’ve got a lot of young kids.”

Wise Kativerata: Future is bright for Fijian rugby league

The build-up to the tournament was far from ideal for the Fijians. Kativerata stepped up to his interim role just days before the start of the World Cup after head coach Joe Rabele was hospitalised.

He has been assisted by some familiar faces, multiple Super League winner Brian McDermott and his fellow former Featherstone coach James Webster.

The playing squad was also hit with injuries before the start of the tournament. Manly’s Pio Seci, Redcliffe’s Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu and St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa were all ruled out and didn’t take part in the World Cup. 

When asked whether his side would go all the way if they had a full-strength side available, the 45-year-old added: “It would be historic. They’ve (New Zealand) got experience, that’s why they got over the line. 

“We’ve done two mistakes in the first half and they scored points. We’ve done two more mistakes and they score points. That’s how it is.”

Despite the disappointment of defeat, the head coach is optimistic about the future of Fijian rugby league. 

He said: “For us, 90% of the kids playing today come from back home. They come into the system and progress within two/three years. (They) get to the top. So I think the future of Fiji rugby league is much better than any other nation.”

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