Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Junior Flying Fijians lose high-scoring Wallabies opener

The baby Flying Fijians suffered a 46-37 loss to the Junior Wallabies in their opening Group B match of the Under 20 Rugby World Championship in South Africa on Sunday.

Just nine minutes into the match Fiji were awarded a penalty which the Hurricanes Under 20 centre Isaiah Ravula took and slotted in between the posts for a 3-nil lead.

Two minutes later, Australia responded through Hooker Liam Bowron, scoring the opening try of the game and Mason Gordon converted to give them a 7-3 lead.

The Ifereimi Rawaqa coached Fijians remained reluctant and scored their first try through Epeli Waqacece and Ravula converted but their joy was again cut short when Nick Bloomfield scored the second try for the Junior Wallabies to give them a narrow 12-10 lead.

Fiji was reduced to 14 men when Tupeni Waqalala was sent to the sin bin for a foul play yet they fought hard and won a penalty which Ravula took successfully.

The young Wallabies regrouped and scored two back-to-back tries through David Vaihu and Aussies 7s star Darby Lancaster but Gordon converted once.

However, the Fijians refused to die wondering and captain Motikai Murray powered through the line and Ravula converted.

Yet, Australia led by 24-20 at half time and made a perfect start in the second spell with a try through Rohan Leahy but Kavaia Tagivetaua crossed for Fiji and Ravula converted to cut the gap to 29-27.

Australia was again reduced to 14 players when Western Force prop Marley Pearce was sent off for a high tackle and it allowed Fiji to strike as Timoci Nakalevu gave them a five-point lead and Ravula converted and kicked a penalty, extending the lead out to eight to complete a perfect night from the boot.

The Australians came back in the contest and scored two more back-to-back tries through Gordon and Lancaster which Brown converted and booted the final penalty to seal the win.

Fiji will face England at 5 am on Friday in their second Group match.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com
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