Fiji 27-22 Scotland

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland in Suva
Ross Ford
Ross Ford marked his record-breaking appearance with a try
Fiji v Scotland
Fiji (11) 27
Tries: Yato, Seniloli Con: Volavola Pens: Volavola 5
Scotland (7) 22
Tries: Ford, Jackson, Brown Cons: Jackson 2 Pen: Jackson

Scotland ended their summer tour with a disappointing defeat by Fiji in Suva.

Following a famous win in Sydney over Australia last weekend, the Scots failed to reach such heights again.

The hosts were inspired, scoring memorable tries through Peceli Yato and Henry Seniloli, with Ben Volavola kicking 17 points.

Ross Ford, Ruaridh Jackson and Fraser Brown all crossed the whitewash for Scotland, but it was not enough to overcome the swashbuckling Fijians.

The result meant a first defeat for Gregor Townsend as Scotland head coach, having opened the tour with a solid win against Italy before the triumph over the Wallabies.

Too many tackles missed - Townsend

Fiji were magnificent, inspired by the stratospheric brilliance of former Glasgow Warriors forward Leone Nakarawa and a back row that rarely dipped below the ferocious.

They had power and subtlety, they blasted Scotland at the breakdown and in the collisions and when something more dexterous was needed they had all manner of off-loaders. Principally, they had Nakarawa, an old friend come back to haunt the visitors.

It was a frenetic day, a madcap Test. When Josua Tuisova, the Toulon wing known as The Bus, obliterated Damien Hoyland in the tackle early on, there was already a sense that Fiji were on to something special.

In the mayhem of the opening minutes, Tevita Cavubati, the Fijian lock, was yellow-carded and followed sharply into the sin bin by Scotland's Josh Strauss and then, a third man walked - Peni Ravai, the Fiji loosehead getting done for pulling down a maul.

Fiji had a three-point lead at that stage, but it soon vanished when Ford crashed over from a line-out maul.

Hooker Ford had become Scotland's record cap-holder with his 110th international appearance and it was his third try of the series - having scored just two for his country prior to the tour.

Jackson converted, but this was short respite for Scotland. Volavola's boot made it 7-6 as the visitors struggled awfully to gain any semblance of control. They threw risky passes, got turned over, missed a huge number of tackles and sent up distress flares in much of what they did.

Leone Nakarawa
Nakarawa was signed by Townsend at Glasgow and was pivotal in their 2015 Pro12 win

The sense that they were in serious trouble increased significantly when Fiji cut loose before the break. Clermont's Yato - a colossal presence in their back row - started it all with a howitzer tackle, Hoyland being the victim again.

Then it was Nakarawa who got the locals to their feet when he sucked in Scottish defenders and pulled off an outrageous offload that had Scotland scrambling forlornly.

They swept left, Patrick Osborne barrelling through Jackson before linking with Yato, who ran on to score. Devastating.

At the break it was 11-7 to Fiji and they were good value for it. Scotland lost Duncan Taylor at half-time and Townsend reworked things. Greig Tonks came on at full-back, Jackson went to 10 and Peter Horne moved to 12. Gordon Reid also replaced Alex Allan.

None of it worked. Scotland continued to turn over ball and could not live with Fiji when they got on the front foot, which was often. More slackness in defence cost Scotland three more points from the boot of Volavola. Townsend went to the bench again. Brown, Zander Fagerson and Hamish Watson all appeared with half an hour to play.

Briefly, it looked like Scotland might get a grip on the Fijians when Jackson picked up at the side of a maul and strolled over. When he converted his first Scotland try, it was level at 14-14.

The maddening thing for Townsend was that they fell behind so quickly, Volavola landing another penalty.

Jackson levelled it again but that set the scene for Nakarawa to take on, and beat, three Scottish defenders before presenting a pass - it was forward, but there was no TMO to check it - to Seniloli, who sprinted away to score.

Volavola converted and added another penalty after Tuisova had once again turned on the power to drive his team forward.

Brown scored a first international try off another line-out maul with four minutes left to play, but Scotland toiled badly as they attempted to pull it back. They could not. In truth, they did not deserve to.

Fiji: Murimurivalu, Tuisova, Vulivuli, Vatubua, Osborne, Volavola, Vularika, Ravai, Koto Vuli, Tawake, Cavubati, Nakarawa, Waqaniburotu, Yato, Qera.

Replacements: Tuapati, Veitayaki, Ducivaki, Nabou, Dawai, Seniloli, Stewart, Masilevu.

Scotland: Jackson, Hoyland, Grigg, Taylor, Visser, Horne, Pyrgos, Allan, Ford, Nel, Swinson, J. Gray, Barclay, Hardie, Strauss.

Replacements: Brown, Reid, Fagerson, Toolis, Watson, Price, Tonks.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France).


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories