Australia beat Fiji but fail to earn bonus point

Sekope Kepu makes a break towards the tryline for Australia

Australia kicked off their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign with a 25-13 Pool A victory over Fiji but failed to earn a bonus point for scoring four tries.

Australia are in a tight battle in Pool with England, Wales and Fiji for the two available places in the quarter finals from Pool A.

Wales and England both earned bonus points from their opening matches and Australia’s failure to score the fourth try could be crucial later in their campaign.

Earlier in the day Scotland were comfortable winners over Japan who also had a short turnaround but Australia were unable to pull away from Fiji.

At half time it had looked like the floodgates would open in the second half but the teams could both only add ten points each in the second half.

Two of Australia’s three tries were scored by David Pocock from rolling mauls as he did several times earlier in the year for his Super Rugby side the Brumbies.

Australia captain Stephen Moore said: “I thought Fiji were terrific; they’re a much-improved side.”

“We’re happy with our boys efforts, but there’s plenty to work on for the next Test.”

Coach Michael Cheika played down the importance of the bonus point. “We haven’t thought about the bonus point. It’s not Super Rugby, it’s the World
Cup.”

Twice in four minutes, Pocock was driven over by the Wallabies’ effective rolling maul after they spurned kicks at goal in favour of attacking line-outs.

Prop Sekope Kepu crossed for a third try early in the second half, with fly-half Bernard Foley kicking 13 points. But Fiji defied fears that they would give
up.

Taking to the field just five days after a 35-11 defeat by England in the tournament opener, the Pacific islanders scored a try through Australian-born fly-half Ben Volavola, with giant wing Nemani Nadolo kicking the conversion and two penalties.

Australia pinned Fiji back in their half for the opening 10 minutes, but a few forced final passes saw the Wallabies only bag a Foley penalty for their
dominance after the islanders strayed offside.

The next 10 minutes saw a reversal of fortunes. An attempted Wallaby push-on in the scrum backfired as the Fijians locked in, held the push and countered
with one of their own.

A kick to the corner from the resulting penalty saw Fiji launch a line-out drive, Scott Fardy straying offside and Nadolo eventually kicking the penalty
in front of the posts to draw the teams level.

Live-wire scrum-half Nikola Matawalu was at the centre of all Fiji did, but his ruck infringement and then a Nadolo high tackle on Israel Folau saw Pocock
driven over after the Wallabies again ignored a kickable chance in favour of an attacking line-out.

Fiji suffered a hammer-blow when Campese Ma’afu was yellow carded on the half-hour after preventing quick ball for the Australians.

Foley again kicked for the corner and Pocock bagged his second try after a perfectly executed rolling maul trundled over the whitewash.

Wallaby No 10 Foley kicked his second penalty just before half-time, with both teams looking like they needed a breather given the frenetic pace of the opening
40 minutes.

Australia started the second period in ideal fashion, Folau punching holes down the left before the ball was worked to Bordeaux-bound Kepu in midfield,
the tighthead prop barging over from close range for a try Foley converted.

Nadolo responded with his second penalty and Fiji then decided to run everything, with mixed results in the face of their own inaccuracy and a doughty Wallaby defence.

Fiji finally broke the Australia line when Volavola, the Sydney-born former Australian Under-20 player who has signed for the Crusaders next season, dummied
past Rob Simmons and rolled out of Foley’s attempted tackle for a try converted by Nadolo.

Foley kicked his third penalty in the 70th minute, and then Fiji-born Wallaby centre Tevita Kuridrani was yellow carded with seven minutes to play after infringing in a tackle on his cousin Nadolo.

Australia were then content to batten down the hatches and Cheika will now try to rally his team in a bid to rack up a huge score against Pool A minnows Uruguay in Birmingham on Sunday.

Final Score Australia 25 (18) Fiji 13 (3)

Scorers

Australia
Tries – Pocock (2), Kepu
Pen – Foley (2)
Con – Foley (2)
Drop –

Fiji
Tries – Volavola
Pen –
Nadolo (2)
Con – Nadolo
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)

Teams

Australia

Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Rob Horne;
Bernard Foley, Will Genia; David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; Rob Simmons,
Kane Douglas; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Will Skelton,
Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale

Fiji

Metuisela Talebula; Waisea Nayacalevu, Vereniki Goneva, Gabiriele Lovobalavu,
Nemani Nadolo; Ben Volavola, Nikola Matawalu; Netani Talei, Akapusi Qera (capt),
Peceli Yato; Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Cavubati; Manasa Saulo, Tuapati Talemaitoga,
Campese Ma’afu

Replacements: Viliame Veikoso, Peni Ravai, Isei Colati, Nemia Soqeta, Malakai
Ravulo, Nemia Kenatale, Joshua Matavesi, Aseli Tikoirotuma

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