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Fiji took to the field in tonight’s penultimate World Cup Group B match knowing that their expected victory would see them join Australia in next weekend’s quarter finals - barring the shock of the tournament if Italy pulled off an unbelievable victory over Australia later tonight.

Scotland had lost both their opening games, conceding more than a hundred points, including 80 by Australia last weekend. They weren’t realistically expected to do anything else tonight.

The Fiji Bati fielded Dally M-winning Penrith, and New South Sales Origin,  hooker Apisai Koroisau at his preferred position of dummy half, while Scotland’s fans’ hopes – such as they were – rested largely on winger Matty Russell, especially with Ryan Brierley missing through injury. 

But Russell left the field injured in the first quarter-hour of the game.

Scotland had first use of the ball and couldn’t get out of their own half before kicking, but Fiji drove forward in their first set, winning a drop-out and second set, which saw Corbyn Sims held up over the line early and ended with a Fiji scrum on the 10m line.

And that set ended with Taniela Sadrugu diver over between the posts to open the scoring. Brandon Wakeham made no mistake with the conversion and Fiji led 6-0.

The rest of the opening 10 minutes were played in Scotland’s red zone before a Fiji knock-on at the play-the-ball gave the Bravehearts relieving possession.

The pressure continued to be on the Scots though and when stand-off Henry Raiwalui wove through the Scottish line, he offloaded to Viliame Kikau in space who ran clear to score. Wakeham added the two again, for a 12-0 lead.

And then, as Fiji pressured the Scottish line again just after 20 minutes, Halifax winger Lachlan Walnsley poached an intercept and ran 80m to score in the corner. He may have regretted that as he was faced with converting his own try and kicked the ball across the face of the goal.

Fiji looked to have hit back when Sunia Turuva crossed the line along with two or three Scottish defenders but referee Tom Grant ruled him held up and although video referee took a long look at the play, saw nothing that allowed him to overrule the on-field decision.

Raiwalui was the next score for Fiji,  gathering a loose ball on 36 minutes after Walmsley failed to take a Fiji High kick, rounding the Scotland defence and scoring near the posts. Wakeham made no mistake with his kick and the score moved to 18-4.

And then, on the stroke of half time, Scotland won a penalty for a high tackle on the Fiji 10m. From the following play, James Bell kicked a beautifully weighted grubber into the Fiji goal where Ben Hellewell ran through to ground it.

Walmsley couldn’t convert, once more, and the half-time hooter sounded on an 18-8 scoreline, despite a half of Fiji dominance.

The Scottish defence looked to have tightened up when the  game restarted, until Luke Bain was sin-binned for a high tackle in the first set, just a minute into the half.

Inevitably that opened up the space for fiji to pressurise the Scottish line, and after five minutes of that, the ball moved wide to Make Sivo in space on the left wing, who had no trouble running in to score.

Wakeham’s conversion took Fiji’s lead to 24-8.

But an interception saw Scotland take the game into Fiji’s half, and a penalty for a ball-strip saw David Liu race through for four more Scottish points. David Scheider took over the kicking duties and duly converted to take the gap back to 10 points at 24-14.

Fiji continued to press, but found themselves unable to find the finishing touch as the game got more intense boiled over into scuffles, which eventually saw Walmsley and Kikau both sent for 10-minute rests on 65 minutes.

After the game calmed down, Korbin Sims powered over the Scottish line from a meter out to extend the Fiji lead. Wakeham converted the try to take the score to 30-14. 

Both teams had threatening chances in the final 10 minutes, but neither could convert them into scores as play got looser and looser, mistakes crept in for both teams,  and the clock ticked down to 80 minutes.

Fiji: Turuva; Karawalevu, Naiqama, Vellum, Sivo (T); Raiwalui (T), Wakeham (5G), Vuniyayawa; Koroisau; Sims, Kikau (T) (Y65), Wong, Sadragu (T). Subs: Tagituimua, Toloi, Ratuvakacerivalu, Manuel-liolevave.

Scotland: Dixon; Walmsley (T) (Y65), Liu (T), Buchanan, Russell;  Bell, Gahan; Teanby, Schneider (G), Luckley, Hellewell (T), Linnett, Bain (Y41). Subs: Bayliss-Brow, Graham, Ferguson, Emslie. 

Full Time: 30-14.

Half Time: 18-8.

Score progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 12-4,  16-4, 18-4, 18-8. HT.  22-8, 24-8, 24-12, 24-14, 28-14, 30-14

Lead Exchange: Fiji

Referee: Tom Grant

Venue: Kings Park, Newcastle

 



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Posted by tb on Sat 29th Oct 2022 6:51 PM | Views : 10864 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES