New Flying Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola came into his own in the 13-28 loss to Australia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff early this morning.
Volavola’s sliced through the Wallaby defence and powered over from 20 metres out to score under the cross bar in the 60th minute.
The Crusaders bound flyhalf had overcome the jitters of the big stage fumbling his first high ball against England at packed out Twickenham Stadium last Friday night in the opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Not only was he at home comfortably fielding high balls from the back of the field with fullback Metuisela Talebula, he engineered and scored Fiji’s only try to ignite some fight-back that stemmed the tide of what seemingly looked like an Australian onslaught.
Volavola’s try in front of former Waratah’s coach Michael Cheika (Wallaby head coach) has also highlighted his maturity after being continually snubbed by Cheika over Israel Folau, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale as playmakers or fullback position in the Super Rugby Australian lineup.
The second loss in five days has considerably diminished Fiji’s chance of a third crack at a quarterfinals berth but will need the help of some upsets from the British nations over Australia to materialize.
If England and Wales defeat Australia in the first two Sundays of October respectively, Fiji might have a sniff if it can score bonus points win against Wales, next Friday and their last match against Uruguay on October 7.
Fiji looked like it had been squeezed out of the Cardiff match after the two quick-fire tries from Aussie number eight David Pocock from lineout mauls in the 26th and 31st minutes mark.
Then some nimble footwork from Wallaby prop Sekope Kepu in the beginning of the second half and another penalty from Bernard Foley seemed to have put the Fijians to the sword with the scores reading 3-25.
But a penalty from Nemani Nadolo and the try from Volavola had inspired the Fijians to cause an upset with two converted tries for the clincher begging; but to no avail.
Instead it poured cold water on a seemingly Australian blow-out and redeemed some respectability to the improved Fijian general play and set piece which at times made the Australians look like amateurs.