Losing to Fiji was such a massively disappointing way to end what has been a fantastic tour.
Before Fiji I would have said this was the most enjoyable tour I’ve ever been on in terms of quality of training, quality of rugby, people we have met, places we have seen and I don’t want to row back away from that too much.
Beating Australia was awesome. The culture of the Scotland squad is getting stronger all the time. Some of the boys haven’t played much rugby and if our culture was weak then they might gripe and, mentally, they might leave the tour and that might impact on the mood of the group.
You’ve heard of that happening in the past but it hasn’t happened here. Regardless of number of minutes on the pitch, every player has had a big part to play and that’s why losing this game really hurts. We were desperate to win all three.
We didn’t play smart rugby. We played right into their hands at times. We’d get into the right areas of the pitch and we’d turn the ball over, we’d give away penalties, we’d make too many mistakes, we’d do things that are not natural to us. We did some crazy stuff that was just not in our system of playing.
There’s a double-edged sword in taking risks. You want to encourage guys to play – a lot of really positive stuff came out of running at Australia and backing ourselves – but it has to be accurate. And we weren’t accurate. The conditions made it tricky. The pitch was wet and the ball was like a bar of soap. It was hard at times to hold on to it.
But throwing loopy passes and just lining ourselves up to get smashed wasn’t clever rugby. There were too many hospital passes.
The boys are flat. We all know we didn’t show the same kind of maturity against Fiji that we showed against Australia. We know we didn’t deserve to win the game. We should have gone more to mauls, where we got success. We should have tired them out. Regrets? Yeah, we have a few.
Fiji are an outstanding team with outstanding individuals and a collective spirit that was there for all to see. Leone Nakarawa’s highlights reel is ridiculous. Against Australia he had 15 offloads which is about what a whole team might expect to have. Peceli Yato, their openside, is one of the best in Europe. Josua Tuisova is a fantastic player.
You miss one tackle against these guys and let them in behind you and you’re in trouble. We missed too many. At no point did I feel we were controlling the game.
We’ll have a think about all of this. I don’t want to get too down about it because I know we’re moving forward and I know we’ll learn the lessons and be better for it. It’s been a joy these past weeks. We’ll be stronger because of everything that has happened – victory and defeat.
For now, I need a break. I have to get a small operation on my wrist when I go back and then I’m on holiday in Greece with the family. I’m looking forward to getting back to them. We’re going away with Ryan Wilson and his family. He still can’t get enough of me despite being my room-mate for a month. He’d better have his own toothbrush by then.
No doubt we’ll talk about the tour but we’ll also talk about November, when, fingers crossed, we’ll all get to meet back up again for three Tests against New Zealand, Australia and Samoa. That’s something to look forward to.
In the meantime, farewell from Fiji and have a great summer.