Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
3 hours ago
The Fiji Bati have made an emphatic statement on Sunday night with a 72-6 thumping of Wales at 1300Smiles Stadium in front of over 7,000 fans.
Sunday night's clash between Fiji and Wales was not expected to be a close one. Unfortunately for the Welshmen, this appeared to be an accurate prediction when Eloni Vunakece barged over in the fifth minute for a simple try. Yet, to their credit, it only took Wales four minutes to hit back when a cheeky late offload from Craig Kopczak saw Morgan Knowles lock things up in the 10th minute.
Regrettably for John Kear's side, this would be the only joy that they would experience in the first half. Only minutes later Suliasi Vunivalu scored out wide after a late pass from Taane Milne. Fiji were well and truly firing as in the ensuing set Salesi Faingaa burst through a gaping hole to send Henry Raiwalui over, extending the Bati's lead to 16-6.
Raiwalui featured in Fiji's next try, yet this time he sent Villiame Kikau through the Welsh defence to score in the 22nd minute. The Bati were not relenting, however, with Salesi Faingaa the next try scorer in 27th minute. Jarryd Hayne's contract has been the talk of the rugby league world in recent days.
Yet, the Titans star proved just what he can do in the 29th minute when he sent Milne over untouched off a perfect short ball. The Fijian spectacle continued in the next set when Akuila Uate bamboozled the entire Wales side with his fancy footwork before finding Marcelo Montoya in support to score out wide.
Unfortunately for Wales that was not all, with Kikau barging over for a double as the half time siren sounded to see the score line stand at 42-6 in Fiji's favour.
One may have thought that Mick Potter's men would be a tad complacent given the dominant lead they held heading into the second half. However, that assumption was emphatically shattered when Vunivalu sprinted away before finding Hayne backing up in support in the 41st minute. Vunivalu himself had a double nine minutes later when he crashed over out wide to extend Fiji's lead to 54-6.
Fiji continued to entertain the Townsville locals when a lovely short ball from Faingaa sent Milne over for his second in the 54th minute. Only five minutes later Vunivalu had another after Milne himself popped a smart offload for the Melbourne winger.
It was raining tries as Joe Lovodua and Ben Nakubuwai were the next to cross over. Fortunately for the Welsh that would be the end of the points, with Fiji finishing resounding 72-6 winners.
Fiji 72 - Wales 6
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Halftime Score: Fiji 42 Wales 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Suliasi Vunivalu
2 points - Jarryd Hayne
1 points - Viliame Kikau
Tries: Eloni Vunakece, Suliasi Vunivalu (3), Henry Raiwalui, Viliame Kikau (2), Salesi Faingaa, Taane Milne (2), Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne, Joe Lovodua, Ben Nakubuwai
Conversions: Apisai Koroisau (4/7), Suliasi Vunivalu (1/2), Taane Milne (3/5)
Tries: Morgan Knowles
Conversions: Courtney Davies (1/1)