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Naiqama ready for Irish test

Fiji skipper targets response after Scotland setback

Last Updated: 08/11/08 11:31am

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Naiqama: Ready and waiting for Ireland

Naiqama: Ready and waiting for Ireland

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Fiji captain Wes Naiqama insists his side can handle the challenge of playing a third match in just 10 days when they take on Andy Kelly's buoyant Ireland.

The southern hemisphere side gave themselves a chance of making the semi-finals by topping Pool Two despite losing 18-16 to Scotland.

Naiqama admits their Gold Coast clash with the Irish will not be easy but the Newcastle Knights star - who kicked two goals against the Scots - believes his side can make the last four.

He also conceded the Fijians were surprised to be told they would be facing Ireland rather than highly-rated Samoa.

"We got the result of that game just before we went out, but we thought that Samoa would have finished ahead in that pool," Naiqama said.

Pressure

"But we've got Ireland and we'll be concentrating on that game now. It's definitely going to be hard but it's something we have to put up with.

"We prepared as best we could for Scotland and I don't think fatigue was a factor out there. It was more a case that we panicked at various stages of the first half.

"It didn't happen against France. In the next game we need to build more pressure and play that kind of football.

"I'd say Scotland were much more physical than France were right across the park but that's good for us because going into the next phase of the World Cup, you can expect that.

"We were bitterly disappointed in our performance (against Scotland) but saying that our main goal was to finish top of our pool and we've successfully done that."

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