Wallabies down Fiji in June series opener

Saturday June 10, 2017

The Wallabies have started their 2017 campaign in strong fashion with a 37-14 victory over Fiji in an entertaining clash at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

The flying Fijians were at their attacking best, but a committed Wallabies side kept them at bay in the seven-try spectacle.

Wallabies fliers Israel Folau and Henry Speight both registered a try-scoring double, as the Aussies produced some brilliant attack of their own to kick of the international season in style.

Four Test debutants featured in a Wallabies outfit that was packed with youth, while veteran scrumhalf Will Genia was named man of the match just two weeks after returning to Australia following his season with French club Stade Francais.

Wallabies Captain, Michael Hooper said: “Really happy with the guys, the intent was really strong but it was a performance that was indicative of a six-day preparation. We probably left two or three (tries) out there. The Fijians’ offload game was pretty hard to deal with at times.

“I was really impressed with some of our defence in the first half, keeping them to zero was pleasing. They started to get hot with their offloads and they are hard to defend.

“There is a new team each week this June Series. We’re excited about that. I’m pleased with our guys putting some points on after a six-day prep.”

Australia struck first on a sun-drenched AAMI Park when Bernard Foley kicked high for the corner for a leaping Israel Folau to cross for his first Test try in 12 appearances.

Foley extended the early lead with a penalty goal before Fijian-born Wallabies winger, Henry Speight barged over in the corner to stretch the lead to 15-0 after just 12 minutes.

Soon after, Folau was sent to the sin bin for a high shot, although the Fijians failed to capitalise with the extra man and Foley again kicked Australia away to an 18-0 lead, where it would remain until the half.

The second half became a battle between both packs as they fought to gain ascendancy and both sides dug in.

Back from a stint on the sidelines, Folau crossed again in the 55th minute after finding space from a Foley short ball to take the score to 25-0.

After a sustained period of pressure, Fiji were finally able to cross the line much to the delight of their fans when Vereniki Goneva dummied through the Australian cover defence to score beneath the posts.

The momentum stayed with the Fijians and winger Timoci Nagusa crossed next to the uprights to close the gap further, before Speight’s second try, finishing out wide made it 37-14 at the final whistle.

The Wallabies will continue their June Series campaign against Scotland at Allianz Stadium in Sydney next Saturday, June 17.

Australia 37 (Israel Folau 2, Henry Speight 2, Stephen Moore tries; Bernard Foley 3 cons; Bernard Foley 2 pens) defeated Fiji 14 (Vereniki Goneva, Timoci Nagusa tries; Ben Volavola 2 cons) at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

News Source: ARU Media