VIDEO: Fiji crush Maori All Blacks
MATCH REPORT: Fiji launched their World Cup build-up with a crushing 27-10 win over the New Zealand Maori in Suva on Saturday.
It was their first win over the Maori in 62 years.
“To get a win in our first game is an amazing achievement for the team,” captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu said of Fiji’s first run together since beating France eight months ago.
“It means a lot to the team, means a lot to the individual players.”
Maori captain Ash Dixon described the Fiji performance as “awesome” and said his side failed to contain the Fijians off-and free-flowing game.
Fiji dominated from the outset, led 12-0 at half-time, and their cause was boosted with 10 points coming while the Maori were down to 14 men when Otere Black was sin-binned late in the first half.
They were up 15-0 when the Maori mounted a limited fight back with two tries to Sean Wainui before Waisea Nayacalevu dived over for his second to put the result beyond doubt.
With the World Cup in Japan just over two months away, there was incentive for both sides with New Zealand and Fiji yet to confirm their final squads and the Maori told they still had a chance to force their way into the All Blacks.
It was the Fijians were made the most of the opportunity with strong running and slick off-loads which exposed serious flaws in the Maori defence.
The four tries to two victory was only Fiji’s eighth win over the Maori in 30 attempts and their first since 1957 – 17 games ago.
For Fiji, Alivereti Veitokani, Viliame Mata and Nayacalevu (two) scored tries with Ben Volavola landing two conversions and a penalty.
The Maori points came from two tries by Wainui.
The two sides play a return match in New Zealand next weekend.
Tries: Veitokani, Mata, Nayacalevu 2
For Maori All Blacks:
Tries: Wainui 2
Fiji: 15 Alivereti Veitokani, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Lepani Botia, 11 Eroni Sau, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Semi Kunatani, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Albert Tuisue, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Peni Ravai
Replacements: 16 Mesulame Dolokoto, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Nemani Nagusa, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Sevanaia Galala, 23 Patrick Osbourne
Maori All Blacks: 15 Fletcher Smith, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Otere Black, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Mitch Karpik, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Ross Wright
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Haereiti Hetet, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Pari Pari Parkinson, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Jordan Hyland
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)