Flying Fijians Knock Over Scotland

Oceania Rugby, Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:15PM

Fiji continued with their fine recent form when they claimed a hard-fought 27-22 victory over Scotland in Suva on Saturday.


Ben Volavola was his side's hero as he finished with a 17-point haul, thanks to five penalties and a conversion, although Scotland outscored the Pacific islanders by three tries to two.


The result is a momentous one for Fiji as it is only the second time in their history that they have beaten Scotland with their last triumph registered in 1998.


In a confrontational encounter, in which Fiji had two players sent to the sin bin and Scotland one, the home side led 11-7 at half-time thanks to a Peceli Yato try and two Volavola penalties with Scotland's points registered via a converted Ross Ford try.


The opening half was an error-strewn affair and the hosts suffered a blow in the 19th minute when Tevita Cavubati was yellow carded after repeated defensive infringements by the home side, but shortly afterwards Scotland were also reduced to 14 men when Josh Strauss was sent to the sin bin for an illegal tackle.


Fiji eventually opened the scoring in the 26th minute courtesy of a Volavola penalty before Kalivati Tawake was also yellow carded for illegally halting a Scotland maul close to his try-line.


Scotland soon benifited from their numerical advantage when Ford went over for a try from a rolling maul – a fitting reward for the veteran hooker who eclipsed the record for Scotland appearances in this match.


Ruaridh Jackson added the extras before Volavola reduced the deficit with a penalty in the 37th minute and shortly afterwards Yato crossed for their opening try after Patrick Osborne did well in the build-up.


Volavola extended his side's lead when he landed his third penalty in the 48th minute but Scotland drew level five minutes later when Jackson went over for a try which he also converted.


Volavola and Jackson traded penalties which meant the sides were deadlocked at 17-17 by the hour-mark but a Henry Seniloli try two minutes later pushed the hosts ahead again.


Five minutes later, Volavola added his fifth penalty which meant Fiji now held a 10-point lead and although Scotland reduced the deficit when Frsaser Brown scored their third try in the 73rd minute, the home side kept them at bay in the dying moments thanks to a resilient defensive effort.


After the 27-22 victory coach John McKee now marshals his men towards the Japan qualification against neighbours Samoa and Tonga.

Fiji Rugby major sponsors Vodafone Fiji was among the first to congratulate the team for beating Scotland and Italy - Tier 1 nations.

Vodafone Fiji's chief executive officer, Pradeep Lal said: "A great achievement by the boys."

"This is testament of the boys' calibre to deliver a great result against Tier 1 teams. I acknowledge the Fiji Rugby Union, the Fiji 15s team, coach and management for delivering a magnificent win. You all have done Fiji proud."

It was the first time Fiji beat two Tier 1 nations in a single year. Fiji beat Italy 22-19 the previous weekend.

This was the second time Fiji had beaten Scotland, the first since they last played in Suva in 1998 (51-26) which meant the hosts kept their unbeaten streak against the Scots at the ANZ Stadium.

The win by Fiji meant Scotland ended their summer tour with a disappointing loss following a famous win in Sydney over Australia last weekend and a win over Italy a week before.

The scorers:


For Fiji:
 Yato, Seniloli  
Cons: Volavola
Pens: Volavola 5
Yellow Cards: Cavubati, Tawake 


For Scotland:
Ford, Jackson, Brown
Cons: Jackson 2
Pen: Jackson
Yellow Card: Strauss


Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Serupepeli Vularika, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Peceli Yato, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Kalivati Tawake, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Peni Ravai
Replacements: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Joeli Veitayaki, 18 Mosese Ducivaki, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 John Stewart, 23 Benito Masilevu


Scotland: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Ali Price, 23 Greig Tonks


Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant Referees: Will Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)

Last updated: Monday June 26, 2017 2:18PM
Author: Greg Thomas