The Runner Sports

Fiji Rugby Comes Up with Big Win Over Scotland

One week after Scotland’s amazing win over Australia, Fiji Rugby upsets the number five team in the world

Scotland entered this week under a large amount of pressure. Last week, after their win over Australia, the new world rankings showed Scotland in fourth. This was the highest they had ever been ranked, but it was a clerical error that pushed them up. It was believed that a big showing against Fiji could gain Scotland that next position at the end of the summer series. Scotland entered the match as odds-on favorites, behind a powerful pack featuring WP Nel and Josh Strauss.

Fiji has had a good summer tour as well. They were unable to take down Australia, but managed a win against Italy at home. Fiji has always been a powerful team, with strong running and blistering defense. Leone Nakarawa has been a strong driving force for the team for years and does not seem to be slowing down. Fiji has always been a threat to the larger nations as a perpetual upset team.

Team discipline nearly spelled disaster for Fiji

The Fijian defense was nearly impenetrable throughout the match. Scotland, however, managed to maintain good field position through frequent Fijian penalties. The first half featured two yellow cards to Fiji, not for a drastic offense, but the continual penalties. Scotland did not fare much better, with Josh Strauss being sent off for a no-arms tackle. Throughout the match, offensive production by Scotland was the result of penalties by Fiji. While this left Scotland with prime field position many times in the match, the hard-nosed defense by Fiji prevented Scotland from capitalizing.

Second-half Scottish defensive breakdown allowed the win for Fiji

Scotland had difficulties in the attack all throughout the day. The biggest help was Fijian penalties and a powerful driving maul. Both of Scotland’s tries were courtesy of their driving maul and their hookers Ross Ford and Fraser Brown. These tries would have been enough for Scotland if the Fijian attack had not been able to create massive holes in the Scottish defense. Henry Seniloli’s try and the penalty kick by Ben Volavola were created at the hands of wide open line breaks through the Scottish defense. While the Scottish defense held well through the first half, there was a loss if that rigidity in the final quarter of the match.

For their part, the Fijian attack was very impressive, especially as the match went on. The massive line break by Nakarawa would set up the try that would win the match for Fiji. The power and speed of the Fijians had Scotland playing on the back foot all day. Having the attack to be able to overcome Fiji’s discipline woes and win the match is truly note worthy. This was a great moment for Fiji Rugby, while being a set back for the progress Scotland has made.

Fiji 27

Scotland 22

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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