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0844 847 2013
J Papalii, D Boyd, M Jennings, J Morris, D Cherry-Evans, L Lewis
J Thurston x5
Attendance: 14,137 Official: Venue: Langtree Park, St Helens
Ref: R. Silverwood T Judge: J. Child T Judge: T. Roby Video Ref: B. Thaler
Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston
Australia enjoyed a comfortable win in uncomfortable conditions as they brushed aside Fiji 34-2 in their Rugby League World Cup 2013 Group A match at Langtree Park, St Helens.
Six different Australians touched down for the Kangaroos, who, in testing conditions in the North-West, remain the dominant force in Group A.
Both sides came into this match on the back of opening-game wins – Fiji having beaten Ireland convincingly at Spotland, Rochdale, earlier in the week and Australia triumphing over England in the tournament opener in Cardiff.
On a personal note Petero Civoniceva the 37-year old prop, who has put in so many memorable performances in the green and gold of Australia over the years, was playing against them for the country of his birth, Fiji, for the first time during RLWC2013 before he brings his illustrious career to an end.
Fiji survived an early scare after some scruffy build-up, which included two skewed Australian kicks, ended with Josh Morris touching down, although the video referee ruled his try out due to an earlier offside infringement.
The Fiji team were not short of support in Langtree Park, as more than once during the first period the chant of “Come on Fiji’ echoed around the stands like the Fijians’ ritualistic pre-match hymn.
And it was Fiji who registered the game’s first points, Alipate Noilea landing a penalty through the swirling wind from 11 metres to inch his side ahead.
Their lead did not last long, however, as Josh Papalii powered through two tackles to force his way over the line. There was no video referee to save Fiji this time as Australia took the lead which they were to hold on to until the final whistle.
Soon after Australia were celebrating their second try, as Luke Lewis put Darius Boyd over in the corner before, Australia proved just why they are the bookmakers’ favorites to win their tenth World Cup title by dominating proceedings.
Some sublime build-up featured delicate passing and quick hands – made all the more impressive in the monsoon-like conditions – before Michael Jennings scored in the corner and Johnathan Thurston converted an improbable position.
There was no let up after the break when another sweeping move saw the Kangaroos move the ball from left to right, with Josh Morris eventually crossing in the corner and Thurston again landing a difficult conversion.
From the restart the Australian stand-off broke through the Fijian ranks, though the ball was spilled at the vital moment when a number of green and gold jerseys were threatening a depleted Bati defence.
Errors began creeping into Australia’s play and another try went begging, Jennings’s pass was far too high for Darius Boyd to grasp and the ball flew out of play.
However they struck again when the powerful James Tamou set up their fifth try by offloading to Daly Cherry-Evans who went in under the posts.
Going into the final quarter, Australia were forced to defend their try line and narrowly escaped conceding their first try after the ball found its way into the scoring area, but was lacking a Fijian touch down.
Lewis ensured that this was just a passing fantasy for the Bati, as he finished another sublime Australian move to wrap up the scoring although the second rower’s tournament is over after he crashed into perimeter boards and dislocated his shoulder.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals