Physical battle as Fiji claims 36-20 win over Tonga

Physical battle as Fiji claims 36-20 win over Tonga

By Mosese Raqio , Alipate Narawa
Saturday 22/07/2023

It was a physical and tough battle between the Fiji Water Flying Fijians and the Ikale Tahi Tonga side in the first round of the Punjas Series Pacific Battle this afternoon as Fiji claimed a 36-20 win at home to kick start their journey to the Rugby World Cup on a high note.

The Flying Fijians started the game strongly with a penalty try to lead 7-0 as Tonga was reduced to 14 men with a yellow card to flanker Tangi noa Halaifonua.

Fiji took advantage of Tonga's 1-man down to score two more tries to captain Waisea Nayacalevu and Sam Matavesi to extend their lead to 19-0.

Tonga came back and scored two tries and a penalty to close the gap to 19-15.

Flying Fijians inside centre Josua Tuisova scored Fiji's fourth try at the stroke of half time with Caleb Muntz converting it to head into the break with a 26-15 lead.

Tonga started the game well in the second spell with an unconverted try in the corner to close the gap 26-20.

It took the Flying Fijians a good 27 minutes of the second half to score their first points of the second spell through a penalty kick from Muntz for a 29-20 lead.

With 2 minutes from full time, replacement halfback Peni Matawalu scored Fiji's 5th try with a successful conversion from the sideline by Muntz to seal the win for the Flying Fijians.

Live Updates:

-Crowd is on their feet as the National Anthems are being sung

-This is the only home game that the Fiji Water Flying Fijians will have before the Rugby World Cup as they will play Samoa in Apia next week before flying off to Japan right after that.

-Teams getting ready for the traditional challenges

-Cibi from the Flying Fijians and Sipi Tau from the Ikale Tahi Tonga

-3 debutants to start in Lekima Tagitagivalu who will start at number 6 with Caleb Muntz starting at fly-half ahead of veteran Ben Volavola who will be on the bench, while Selestino Ravutaumada will start on the left wing and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta hopefully debut off the bench

-Kick Off!

-Tonga on the attack before an intercept from Ravutaumada before passing to nayacalevu

-Tonga clear the ball from their 5 metre

-Fiji lineout

-Tuisova breaking through a few tackles before passing to his centre,  maqala takes it up the middle but hey lose the ball

-PENALTY TRY!!

-Fiji 7-0 Tonga

-Yellow Card to Halaifonua

-1st scrum of the game to Fiji, Tuisova bumping off Fekitoa

-Nayacalevu gets a try in the corner

-Fiji 12-0 Tonga

-Fekitoa ripping the ball off Fiji

-Fiji gets a penalty, Muntz kicks to the corner

-Fiji looking to drive over and they get another one through hooker Sam Matavesi

-Fiji 17-0 Tonga

-Muntz gets his first Test points

-Fiji 19-0 Tonga

-Tonga playing a penalty advantage  and they opt for a kick to the corner

-Solomone Kata denied a try in the corner from Wainiqolo but the ref is playing Advantage so they get the ball back

-TRY!!

-Siua Maile gets Tonga on the scoreboard

-Fiji 19-5 Tonga awaiting the conversion

-Tuisue running up the middle

-Fiji penalised for entering from the side at the ruck

-Tonga attacking once again and TRY Halaleva Fifita!!

-busting through Lomani and Tuisova

-Otumaka Mausia converts

-Fiji 19-12 Tonga

-Fiji on the backfoot

-Tuisova takes it up and Tonga gets penalised

-Wainiqolo penalised for not rolling away

-Tonga pointing at the posts as they want to go for points

-Mausia converts!!

-Fiji 19-15 Tonga

-Piutau clears from the kickoff

-Ref has his arm out again

-penalty to Tonga

-Fiji was offside

- Tonga utilising the pick and drive

- Botia gets a penalty for Fiji

-Fiji gets the ball back and are on the attack

-Matavesi throws, Nasilasila drives forward and Fiji get another penalty as tackler did not release

-Tuisue busts through the middle, Ravutaumada brought down

-Fiji has an advantage

-Doge takes it through

-Ben Tameifuna gets a penalty for Tonga

-Fiji gets the throw in

-Maqala taking it up, Lomani to Nasilasila

-TRY!!

-Josua Tuisova dots down in the corner

-Fiji 24-15 Tonga

-Muntz converts

-Fiji 26-15 Tonga

-Half-time

-2nd Half, Kick off!

-Botia stepping through to Nayacalevu in to the 22

- Ball goes back to Tonga as Fiji gives away a penalty

-Funaki standing over the ball

-Wainiqolo fires a kick back at the Tongans from his 22

-Maqala with the ball, Fiji regrouping

-Penalty for Tonga

- Quick  all from the Tongans and TRY!!

-The substitute with the first points in the second half

-Fiji 26-20 Tonga

-Takalua clears with a box kick

-Tuisue brings it back

-Fiji get a penalty on their 5 metre

-Muntz will clear

-Up to 10 from halfway

-Mata on for Mayanavanua

--Tonga scrum as Takalua feeds the ball in

-Tonga scrum on Fiji's 5 metre

-Doge off the field with Luke Tagi on

-Mata has shifted to Number 8 while Tuisue moves to flanker

-Fekitoa tries to break through, they get a penalty

-Lomani steals the ball and Tuisova boots it clear

-Now play on on Tonga's 5 metre

-Fekitoa well marked by his opposite

-Penalty to Fiji, Tonga offside

-Fiji emptying their  bench as Semi Radradra now on the field

-Vaea Fifita facing some shoulder  problems as he tried to tackle Radradra

-Sam Matavesi and Ravai off as Tevita Ikanivere and Mawi on

-Radradra floats one over to Tuisova who knocks it on in the tackle

-Scrum to Tonga in their 5 metre, the Number 8 brings it up

-Lomani to Ravutaumada who doesn't get a good angle on that clearance kick

-Tonga attacking in Fiji's 22

-Pick and drive

-Turned over

-Lomani to Nasilasila

-Penalty to Fiji, Lomani takes it quickly up another 20 metres
-Tonga penalized for being offside

-Muntz getting ready for a shot at goal

-Muntz converts

-Fiji 29-20 Tonga

-Cirikidaveta making his debut from the bench

-Fiji knocks the ball on

-Pellegrini kicks to the corner

-10 minutes left, 9 points in it

-Penalty to Tonga in Fiji's 5 metre

-Tonga taps

-Mistake from Tonga as they knock it on

-Fiji out of jail with that one

-Scrum penalty to Fiji

-Muntz with a good clearance kick, Fiji get the line-out

-Radradra takes it up passes to Ravutaumada

-Botitu to Tuisova

-Tuisova just monstered over Pellegrini

-Lomani off with Peni Matawalu on

-Fiji driving up the side

-Muntz converts

-Fiji 36-20 Tonga

Scrum to Fiji

3 minutes left

Botitu at fly-half, Tuisova off as Lomani moves to the wing
TRY!!

-Matawalu with the try

-Fiji 34-20 Tonga

-Muntz converts

-Fiji 36-20 Tonga
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