November 14, 2012
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Fiji handed second loss on Europe tour

By Sunil Sharma

The Flying Fijians failed to put their act together going down 31-29 over Gloucester in their second game of the Europe tour.

The hosts’ four tries came from either catch and drive lineouts or penalty tries after having to weather some heavy first-half Fiji pressure.

The home side trailed 18-0 ten minutes before half-time before their forwards stepped up and caused havoc accompanied by a perfect kicking display from young stand-in stand-off Dan Robson.

It was from the set-piece that showed Fiji taking the lead when a scrum collapsed and fly-half Jonetani Ralulu knocked over the kick after seven minutes.

Josh Matavesi was enjoying the exhibition atmosphere with plenty of one-handed passes and after more great hands Fiji scored the game’s first try on 19 minutes.  Fizzing offloads out of the tackles sucked in Gloucester’s defence and hooker Tuapati
Talemaitoga cut a great line through the 22 from the ruck and sprinted over with Ralulu unsuccessful in his conversion.

The fly-half was on target three minutes later with a second penalty before the home side wasted chances to gain go-forward following two five-metre lineouts that were turned over.

Fiji was rewarded with its second try of the game as full-back Metuisela Talebula broke from his half and right wing Timoci Matanavou was on hand to sprint under the posts.

Ralulu converted to make it 18-0 with seven first-half minutes remaining before the hosts finally came to life and slashed the half-time deficit to a more respectable ten.

Fiji restored the 13-point gap after just two minutes when Ralulu’s crossfield kick sent Hartpury wing Steph Reynolds backpedalling and Watisoni Votu had too much power with Ralulu off target.

Fiji had the chance to snatch it at the death when Ralulu’s long penalty attempt from his own half drifted short but Gloucester took it over their own line and dotted down giving away a five-metre scrum.

Flying Fijians is up against Ireland XVs at 6.30am Sunday in their next game before facing Georgia in their final Northern tour match.


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