Scots overcome Fiji for first win of end-of-year series
REPORT: It was unconvincing, but Scotland got the job done and recorded their first win of their campaign by beating Fiji 28-12 at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The hosts were only 14-12 ahead at the break but pulled clear after the interval in a match where they outscored Fiji four tries to two.
Victory came after Scotland started their end-of-year programme with a 16-15 loss to Australia at Murrayfield last weekend — a match where the Scots were without their England-based players for a Test that fell outside the official Autumn window.
Scotland face New Zealand a week on Sunday before rounding off their Autumn series against Argentina.
The hosts looked set for a smooth afternoon when Turner’s early try put them ahead, but the visitors – under the charge of former Scotland head coach Vern Cotter – hit back with their tries and temporarily had the hosts on the ropes.
Touchdowns either side of the interval from Hastings and Van der Merwe helped Gregor Townsend’s side regain the upper hand, however, before replacement White added a further score in the closing stages.
In just the second minute, Fiji suffered a setback when debutant Rotuisolia was sent to the sin-bin for foul play.
The hosts made the extra man count as they bossed the early stages and after a sustained period of pressure, Turner pushed his way over from a rolling maul in the seventh minute for the game’s opening try. Hastings – given his chance to stake a claim for the stand-off berth vacated by high-profile absentee Finn Russell – was successful with the conversion.
The Pacific islanders had a good chance to get their first points on the board in the 11th minute when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but Tuicuvu sent his kick wastefully wide from.
Tries: Turner, Hastings, Van der Merwe, White
Cons: Hastings 2, Kinghorn 2
Tries: Tuicuvu, Rotuisolia
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Murphy Walker, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Ben White, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Sione Tuipulotu.
Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Setareki Tuicuvu, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 11 Vinaya Habosi, 10 Vilimoni Botitu, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Levani Botia, 6 Albert Tuisue, 5 Ratu Leone Rotuisolia, 4 Temo Mayanavanua, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Eroni Mawi.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Livai Natave, 18 Luke Tagi, 19 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 20 Kitione Kamikamica, 21 Peni Matawalu, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Sireli Maqala.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)