Volavola Kicks Fiji to Victory over Italy

Oceania Rugby, Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:03PM

Ben Volavola's 82nd-minute drop goal clinched a dramatic 22-19 win for Fiji over Italy at ANZ Stadium in Suva on Saturday.


Facing each other for the first time since 2014, when Fiji also won in Suva, the contest went right down to the wire as Fiji outscored the visitors by three tries to one.


The match had looked set to end in a draw after Italy number ten Tomasso Allan added his fourth penalty with three minutes left, before Volavola stepped up to win the game.


It was Fiji who led at the interval 14-9 after tries from both of their centres, Eroni Vasiteri and Jale Vatubua crossing within the first 20 minutes of the match. Italy's response came from three Allan penalties.


Vereniki Goneva's score in the 45th minute then gave Fiji a healthy ten-point lead at the start of the second half. 


However the match turned when Fiji were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for winger Timoci Nagusa. Italy's pack was also well on top, winning multiple scrum penalties, and eventually the Azzurri registered a first try through Maxime Mbanda to make the score 19-16.


Allan's penalty in the 77th minute then followed to level the scores, before a Leone Nakarawa break with time running out ultimately created the platform for Volavola to make himself a hero.



The scorers:


For Fiji:
Tries: Vasiteri, Vatubua, Goneva
Cons: Volavola 2
Drop Goal: Volavola


For Scotland:
Try: Mbanda
Con: Allan
Pens: Allan 4


Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Jale Vatubua, 12 Eroni Vasiteri, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Serupepeli Vularika, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Kalivati Tawake, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Peni Ravai
Replacements: 16 Jale Sassen, 17 Joeli Veitayaki, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Mosese Voka, 22 Nikola Matawalu, 23 Benito Masilevu


Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Maxime Mbanda’, 6 Francesco Minto (c), 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Ornel Gega, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti


Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Graham Cooper (Australia)

Last updated: Monday June 26, 2017 2:14PM
Author: Greg Thomas