SPORTS

New Players Impress Qera

The Fiji Airways Flying Fi­jians have successfully de­fended the Pacific Nations Cup after thumping Georgia 37-15 at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, yester­day. Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Flying Fijians captain Akapusi
17 Jun 2018 12:57
New Players Impress Qera
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians winger Vereniki Goneva looks for support against Georgia as fullback Kini Murimurivalu closes in during the Pacific Nations Cup clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, on June 16, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fi­jians have successfully de­fended the Pacific Nations Cup after thumping Georgia 37-15 at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, yester­day.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Flying Fijians captain Akapusi Qera was pleased with the young players’ performances.

“Especially the young boys that made the starting 15 this week,” Qera said.

“We didn’t manage to kick start our game well in the first half.

“There was a lot of stop start but we came back. We put on a good performance in the second half, that’s the level we need to be in eve­ry test match.”

What happened: Both teams start­ed strongly with the Fijians run­ning the ball while Georgia had the wind advantage and opted to kick for territory and pin the hosts close to their tryline.

This saw them take a 3-0 lead from a Ioseb Matiashvili penalty after the Flying Fijians were caught off­side.

Their joy was short-lived when centre Semi Radradra broke through the defence but his pass was spilled forward by halfback Henry Seniloli.

From the scrum the Flying Fijians pushed the Georgians back and the pressure saw No.8 Otar Giorgadze lose control of the ball allowing Se­niloli to scoop it up and dive over for the first try.

With the 5-3 lead, then Radradra again broke through the defence and passed it on to Seniloli to score the second try with Ben Volavola’s conversion going wide.

The visitors took control of play as from a lineout close to the Fiji line they executed a rolling maul with flanker Victor Koleishvili being awarded the try with Ma­tiashvili’s conversion levelling the scores at 10-10.

Towards the end of the first half, the Georgians switched play and saw winger Vereniki Goneva be­ing out of position allowing Sandro Todua to go over for their second try with the conversion going wide.

Halftime: Fiji 10-15 Georgia.

With the wind behind them the Flying Fijians upped the tempo and second five eight Jale Vatubua bull­dozed his way over for the third try with Nemani Nadolo’s conversion going over as they regained the lead 17-15.

Nadolo again slotted a penalty to extend the lead to 20-15.

The Flying Fijians began to throw the ball around with replacement halfback Frank Lomani running in two tries before Radradra sealed Georgia’s fate with a try towards the end.

Big Play: The Flying Fijians tight five of Campese Ma’afu, Manasa Saulo, Vere Vugakoro, Leone Na­karawa and Api Ratuinyarawa dominated the scrums and the set pieces.

Star Turn: Radradra’s touch was magical as he set-up the first two tries to Seniloli before claiming the last try.

Comments: Flying Fijians head coach John McKee said: “We’re pleased with the win and to retain the Pacific Nations Cup.

“In the first half we didn’t have much physicality and in the second half with the breeze behind us we were able to play field play.

“Our defensive line was stronger coming forward, we stretch them wide got them on the edges that is what we want to do. I was also pleased with the injection of the re­serves especially the young players we got in our squad.

“Our set pieces we didn’t start off the way we like, but in the second half we stuck to our processes and we got better and better and we fin­ished off well.”

Georgia head coach Milton Haig said: “We started off well in the first half but full credit to Fiji in the second half they got their natu­ral game going, their offloads and their forwards and backs was hard to contain.

Point scorers: Fiji 37 (Tries- Henry Seniloli (2), Jale Vatubua, Frank Lomani (2), Semi Radrada, Con- Nemani Nadolo (2) con, Pen- Nem­ani Nadolo (1)

Georgia 15 (Tries- Victor Kolelish­vili, Alexander Todua, Con- Iosefo Matiashili (1), Pen- Iosefo Matiashi­li

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj



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