Fiji got their 2014 Pacific Nations Cup defence under way with a convincing 45-17 win over Tonga at Churchill Park in Lautoka earlier today. The defending champions scored six tries and played some excellent rugby, with the backs in particular running riot.
Glasgow Warriors star Nikola Matawalu steered the ship and put the backs in space, allowing the likes of Nemani Nadolo, Watisoni Votu and veteran Sireli Bobo to do what they do best.
Winger Bobo, now 38 years of age believe it or not, scored twice including what was one of the tries of the match. Centre Nadolo, who was given the kicking duties, scored a try of his own and kicked 15 points, while Votu also picked up a brace. Captain Akapusi Qera crossed late in the game too.
With a 24-3 lead at the break Fiji always looked in control of things, and Tonga were only able to cross the whitewash with twenty minutes to go, following a yellow card for wing Votu.
“The Fijians are always dangerous from broken play and you can see today they punished us,” said Tongan captain Nili Latu. “We just had no answer. We were here to win and to fight to the end and played well in the second half.
“Last week the Samoans were not as quick and there’s no system on defence that can stop them from broken play. That’s the danger from the Fiji team.”
Fiji are joint first round winners after Japan’s 34-25 win over Canada last weekend. Samoa, who drew 18-18 with Tonga, beat Italy 15-0 today after five Tusi Pisi penalties proved the difference in the Italian’s tour match in Apia. The United States are hosting Japan later today.