A bad-tempered defeat has got the UK Armed Forces Rugby League team off to a terrible start at the defence World Cup in Australia as they lost 40 points to 20 against Fiji.

The UKAF head coach Damian Clayton called the first half the worst 40 minutes of rugby league he's ever seen his side play. 

Their basic skills failed them and they looked to be clueless in how to deal with a rampaging Fiji attack.

It was Fiji that opened the scoring after just six minutes. UKAF lost possession and Rapate Tobe picked up the loose ball and ran in from 60 metres out.

The Pacific Islanders demonstrated power, speed and handling skills to run through the UKAF defence for three more first-half tries.

Dave Hankinson finally got the UK team on the scoreboard after half an hour.

Two great sets of six allowed the centre to cross the line and Ryan Matthews added the conversion. 

It was the only UKAF highlight in a dismal first half which ended with Fiji leading 24-6.

A barnstorming run from Jordan Andrade got the UKAF team off to a positive second half start. 

Moment later, Jamie Birdsall thought he was in, but the try disallowed for a forward pass.

In the meantime, the Fijians kept running their lines and they added two more tries to extend their lead. 

Finally some sense of flow entered the UK game as Matthews went over the try line, but the mood changed dramatically thanks to a shocking tackle on Birdsall from the subsequent kick off.

Eseroma Melo Kasinalevu was handed a red card, which is an automatic three match ban and means his tournament is over.

Sadly that is also the case for Birdsall, as despite the second row being given the all-clear at the hospital, he is unlikely to feature again under the concussion rules.

UKAF couldn't capitalise on their one-man advantage and couldn't claw their way back in.

The game ended with another Fiji try, securing them a 40-20 win.

The UK’S next match is against hosts Australia, who beat New Zealand 64-8 in their first game.