Crusaders back Nemani Nadolo scored 15 points as Fiji defeated European visitors Italy 25-14 in Suva on Saturday.
Nadolo was one of three try scorers for the Islanders, crossing first before adding two penalties and two conversions playing at inside centre.
Italy’s only real dominance came as expected in the set-piece, where a number of collapsed scrums from the Fijians left referee JP Doyle no option but to award the first of their two penalty tries which gave the Azzurri the lead.
Nadolo’s try brought Fiji back into the contest but the score remained tight at 5-7 at half-time, before the hosts took control.
Taking over the kicking duties after Jonetani Ralulu missed a penalty and a conversion, Nadolo converted Dominiko Waqaniburotu’s try after some fine interplay by Fiji to put them into the lead for the first time.
Nadolo’s two penalties extended the lead but Italy hit back through another penalty try, again converted by Orquera, to apply some pressure at 18-14.
But Clermont star Napolioni Nalaga came through with what proved to be the winning try two minutes from time, Nadolo converting to secure an impressive win for Fiji. Italy face Samoa next.
Tries: Nadolo, Waqaniburotu, Nalaga
Cons: Ralulu, Nadolo
Pens: Nadolo 2
Tries: Penalty Try 2
Cons: Orquera 2
Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Napolioni Nalaga, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Nemani Nadolo, 11 Timoci Nagusa, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Api Naikatini, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Isei Coalti, 19 Wame Lewaravu, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Watisoni Votu, 23 Adriu Delai.
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Giovambattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Joshua Furno, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (c), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Alberto de Marchi, 19 George Fabio Biagi, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Andrea Masi.
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Johan Hoffmann (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Assessor: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
- Planet Rugby