Fiji stay in line to go thru

Fiji’s match against Wales should now to decide the runner-up position in Pool B after the Fijians notched an unimpressive 29-16 win over Canada on Sunday.

The Fijians ran in three tries in the first 43 minutes, but then a litany of errors and a fair bit of indiscipline helped Canada back into a game, and the Canucks may well feel hard done-by after what looked a legitimate try was denied them by TMO Caig Joubert with 10 minutes to go, a try that may well have swung momentum their way.

With Canada dominating proceedings for the most part of the second half, Fiji were let off the hook when full-back Mike Pyke ignored the two-man overlap and went for glory himself.

At first, it looked like the Canadian was held up and dotted down after two movements. But referee Tony Spreadbury made the right decision to go upstairs and leave the final call to Joubert, who took a good few minutes to make his verdict.

After countless replays, it was clear that Pyke had not been held over or before the line and the try was successfully scored in one movement. The South African TMO thought otherwise though and the jeers from the Canada supporters in an empty Millennium Stadium could have matched that of a capacity crowd.

Canada did well to lift themselves up and continue to put pressure on the Islanders for the final ten minutes that nearly led to them snatching the game with time up on the clock. But more about that later.

In a game dominated by two teams in different halves, Fiji would have been relieved to walk away with their bonus-point victory after their dominating opening 40 minute spell was shut out by Canada after the break.

Fiji laid down the challenge before the game even kicked off with their traditional haka led by captain Mosese Rauluni.

Canada certainly started off well enough by securing the majority of possession by keeping the ball amongst their bigger forwards. But the backline had a tough time against the classier Fijians and failed to get the ball moving through the hands when it counted.

The boot of Pyke didn’t help the Canucks cause much either with endless up-and-unders kicked too far, and in the end just giving possession away to the Fijians in their own 22.

Fiji were their brilliant selves in loose play, with their locks acting like wings as they side-stepped past hapless defenders and the wings acted like locks as they bashed their way towards the Canada tryline.

The tight exchanges were more of a concern to the Fijians – as it was always going to be – with the Islanders struggling in the line-outs, losing five altogether off their own throw. The scrums also took a knock with Canada securing two feeds after pushing their opposition backwards.

Referee Spreadbury – at times far too whistle happy – was forced to blowing the game to a stand still after mistakes from both sides started take it’s toll with the small crowd begging for continuity.

However, the mistakes led to penalties and the penalties led to three-pointers as Canada wing James Pritchard opened the scoring with a well taken shot at goal from the touchline.

Nicky Little got Fiji on the board with a monstrous 40 metre kick to level the scores in the seventh minute of the game after Canada flank Dave Biddle was adjudged off-side.

A wonderful try-saving tackle by skipper and scrum-half Morgan Williams on Fiji full-back Kameli Ratuvou inches from the line prevented the Islanders from taking the lead.

Pyke couldn’t do the same for his team-mates though after lock Kele Leawere charged ten metres before trampling over the Canadian full-back for Fiji’s first try of the afternoon beside the posts. Little converted the simple conversion and Fiji held a deserved 10-3 lead.

Pritchard kept Canada in tune with a 40-metre penalty kick of his own that just managed to creep over.

Fiji replied back after lock Ifereimi Rawaqa showed o

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