Fiji U20 Ruggers Secure Spot In U20 Championship, Scotland Bites The Dust

The main target was to remain in Tier One and prepare for Italy next year. I want to thank the coaches,  management and the players for the great effort and achievement- John O’Connor
24 Jun 2019 16:12
Fiji U20 Ruggers Secure Spot In U20 Championship, Scotland Bites The Dust
Vodafone Fijian U20 team celebrate after beating Scotland in Rosario on June 23,2019. Photo: World Rugby

The Kele Leawere-coached Vodafone Fijian team produced a brilliant display of attacking rugby to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Rosario, Argentina yesterday.

And Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor applauded players and the coaching for a job well done.

“I thank the U20 team for their achievement this morning against Scotland,”O”Connor said.

“The main target was to remain in Tier One and prepare for Italy next year.

“I want to thank the coaches for a job well done, the management and the players for their great effort and achievement.”

Scotland fought back after conceding 38 first-half points but were left with too much to do and become the first Home Nation to suffer relegation from the tournament.

Team captain Tevita Ikanivere said they need to  win the 11th place playoff.

“It means a lot. We came out with a bang and did it for the boys last year who brought us up and for our brothers who’ll be here next year,”Ikanivere told World Rugby,

Scotland captain Connor Boyle was gracious in defeat.

“This game was the most important game of our lives. Scotland had never been relegated before, but we weren’t on the money. Credit to Fiji, they played their hearts out but it’s very disappointing for us,’he told World Rugby

All five of Fiji’s tries before the break were outstanding, centre Isaac Ratumaitavuki getting the first on four minutes after great assist from Osea Natoga and Osea Waqa.

Scotland scored next with Ross Thompson slotting a penalty before Jack Blain cut back inside the defensive cover, after play had gone from one touchline to another. The lead did not last long though, as centre Veresa Tuqovu collected a basketball-style offload from flanker Yabaki Seeto to score in the corner.

Again, Scotland responded, fullback Matt Davidson hitting the line at pace to power over after the forwards employed their tried and tested maul to suck in defenders, Thompson converting to bring his side to within two points of the Fijians.

That was near as they got, though, as Fiji turned on the style to score three brilliant tries in the space of seven minutes. Fiji’s fourth try was a real team effort. Nine different players got their hands on the ball before ever-dangerous wing Kaminieli Rasaku finished off a brilliant move which started on the edge of their own 22.

Fiji were on fire at this stage and, straight from the restart, they scored again, second-row Etonia Waqa plucking the ball out of the air before feeding Natoga, who chipped over the defence and effortlessly re-gathered to slide over on the stroke of half-time. With Muntz putting an early penalty miss behind him and knocking over his fifth consecutive kick, Fiji went into the break 38-15 up.

Blain’s second from Thompson’s inch-perfect cross-field kick was just reward for Scottish pressure in the 64th minute. Fiji’s high penalty count was becoming a problem and when Ashman went over again from the back of a maul, and Thompson converted, Scotland had a glimmer of hope with the score at 45-34 to Fiji with 12 minutes remaining.

Fiji ride out the storm and Anasa Qaranivalu’s converted try finally secured the win before fellow replacement Ilaisa Droasese raced home from 60 metres to seal the win.

Edited by Anasilini Natoga

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