Fiji kicked off its campaign in the Singapore 7s with a hard fought 21-12 win over Canada at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Fiji entered into the match without experienced Captain Tevita Daugunu who was replaced by returning Sevuloni Mocenacagi while Waisea Nacuqu, who is playing his 50th HSBC 7s tournament took the leadership role.
After two minutes of intense arm wrestling, Phil Berna broke the deadlock as he crashed through the hesitant Fijian defence and got onto the try line but the conversion attempt failed.
Fiji was reduced to six players when Pilipo Bukayaro was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Yet, the Fijians remained focused and a wide pass from Manueli Maisamoa found an unmarked Vuiviawa Naduvalo and he raced to the try line.
Nacuqu converted for a narrow 7-5 lead.
Maisamoa caught their own restart and flicked a pass to Naduvalo to grab his double under the sticks and Nacuqu converted again.
Minutes before the break, Canada could have again got on the scoreboard through Max Stewart but he knocked the ball forward during a Mocenacagi tackle.
Fiji led 14-5 at halftime.
The Canadians came out firing in the second spell with a comeback try from David Richard in the corner and Lachlan Kratz converted for 12 points.
Again the Canadians regained possession and picked up a loose ball from the Fijian defence but Matt Oworu held the ball late which gave Fiji a penalty advantage.
Nippy playmaker Napolioni Bolaca was quick with his tap and go and a a good pass to lanky forward Joseva Talacolo saw him outpace the Canadians and score Fiji’s third try.
Coming off the bench, Terio Tamani converted to increase their lead to 21-12.
In the dead end of the match, Canada put in a lot of effort to add their third try but Alex Rusell knocked the ball forward at the succession.
Fiji will meet Samoa in its next match at 7.30pm.