July 11, 2022
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Fiji U20 finishes last in Oceania Championship

The Vodafone Fiji U20 side ended its campaign in the Oceania Rugby Championship in last place at the Sunshine Coast in Australia last night after suffering another heavy defeat, this time a 61-5 drubbing at the hands of Argentina.

The big win also saw the Los Pumitas finish as runners up.

Tomas Suarez Folch opened the scoring for Argentina in the sixth minute with a penalty goal, but it was Fiji who scored the first try of the match when Phillip Baselala intercepted a pass and ran 70 metres downfield five minutes later.

However, Fiji’s lead only lasted minutes as an overlap out wide allowed Tomas María Elizalde to cross untouched.

Malakai Nawai was sent off just before the 20-minute mark for a dangerous tackle and Argentina capitalised on the advantage scoring another easy try through Valentin Cabral.

In the final 10 minutes of the half,  Boris Wenger scored a double, with his second coming after an impressive break from Cabral on halfway.

Fiji was awarded a penalty just before halftime and despite being down 27-5, opted to go for goal.

But the distance was too much for fullback Kevueli Tunidau with his 45-metre attempt falling 10 metres short.

Argentina scored two more tries in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, including one to Captain Mateo Albanese who picked up the ball after Tunidau knocked down a pass on the wing.

As a result, Tunidau escaped a sanction but minutes later Nawai picked up his second yellow card and Cabral scored his second try.

Another Fijian penalty sent Argentina back into the 22 and Justo Piccardo scored after having a try disallowed in the first half.

Repeated infringements on defence saw Saula Qiolevu sent off as Fiji played the last seven minutes with 13, which was too much as Argentina scored their ninth and tenth tries to end the match.

Fiji lost earlier to Australia 58-5 and 74-5 to eventual winners New Zealand.

By Reginald Chandar

 


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