Saturday, May 23, 2015

International Rugby: Fiji open South American tour with win

Rugby World Cup 2015 rivals Uruguay and Fiji have a better understanding of one another after today's non-capped international match in Montevideo. Uruguay played host to Fiji's 'A' side the Fiji Warriors in the first of two matches between the sides with the visitors completing a 30-22 victory. The Fijians are to now prepare to face Argentina on Wednesday in a rare match at a neutral venue. The Uruguayan city of Colonia will stage the match before Fiji then completes it's tour with a second match against Uruguay in Montevideo next Sunday. 

The Fiji Warriors, a Fijian side made up of  the county's leading domestic based players complete a 30-22 away victory this afternoon against Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A rivals Uruguay. Neither team was at full strength due to the fixture taking place outside of the mandatory player release windows as  designated by World Rugby. This offered wider squad members from both, but Fiji in particular, an opportunity to press for future opportunities.

The first half of the match saw Fiji scoring three tries with hooker Isieri Ladua crossing first for an 8th minute try before John Dyrea and Eroni Vasiteri went over in the final minutes of the first half to give the visitors a 15-3 half time lead. It came after Uruguayan fly half Jerónimo Etcheverry had opened the scoring with a penalty. 

The Fiji Warriors must authory onto the game early in the second half with Serupepeli Vularika converting a Ledua try in the 43rd minute to make it a 22-3 scoreline. Uruguay, though, continued to demonstrate improved stamina. As was the case against Argentina and the USA, Los Teros were able to keep up a pace throughout. 

Etcheverry made it a 22-10 game in the 56th minute by converting a penalty try but it was quickly cancelled out by Fiji as Nacani Wakaya crossed two minutes later. A penalty by fullback Tikilaci Vuibau completed Fiji's scoring. After 62 minutes the visitors were leading by twenty points but two late tries from Uruguay to close out the match made it a 30-22 finish. 

The teams are to meet again next Sunday but, in between hand, Fiji is to face Argentina in another uncapped fixture. The teams will then end their international competition for the time being to focus on World Cup preparation together with professional athletes who are currently unavailable due to the ongoing club seasons in both Europe and Super Rugby nations.

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