Wallabies too strong for fearless Fiji

Henry Speight (Getty)
Henry Speight (Getty)

Melbourne - Australia got their June international campaign off to an impressive start on Saturday as they saw off Fiji 37-14 at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Tries from Israel Folau (2), Henry Speight (2) and Stephen Moore saw them to victory, with Bernard Foley kicking 12 points in a slick showing.

This result will give the Wallabies plenty of confidence going into next weekend's fixture against Scotland before they face Italy on June 24.

It was an extremely positive opening 40 minutes to the Wallabies' June campaign as they ran in two tries to sit 18-0 up at the turnaround.

Australia were over after just four minutes when a cross-kick from Foley found Folau airborne, and after a tussle with Fiji fullback Kini Murimurivalu, the dangerous Wallaby gathered the loose ball before dotting down for the opener. Foley would then make it 7-0 off the tee.

Fiji were struggling to live with the slickness of Australia's play and an offside saw Foley extend the gap to ten points on nine minutes.

The pattern was to continue soon after as a second try came, this time thanks to lovely handling which saw lock Adam Coleman, number eight Scott Higginbotham and wing Dane Haylett-Petty combine to send over Speight on the right. The unconverted score meant it was 15-0.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the Wallabies though as on 20 minutes Folau was yellow carded for a high tackle. However, Niko Matawalu could not get his side on the board soon after as his crossing was chalked off due to holding of Michael Hooper at the scrum set-piece.

That was Fiji's best chance of a half they came out of distinctly second best, with Foley making it 18-0 on 29 minutes before Ben Volavola missed his own attempt at goal a minute before the interval, which summed up a hugely disappointing stanza for the islanders in Melbourne.

Australia came close to adding two further tries in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, with a knock-on foiling the first before a foot in touch from Tevita Kuridrani saw him denied wide on the right. Michael Cheika was though encouraged by their positive early efforts.

It was only going to be a matter of time before they had their third try of the contest and it came from a lovely short ball from Foley to Folau, who set off for the right-hand corner to claim his brace on 56 minutes. Foley slotted the extras to put the Wallabies 25-0 in front.

Fiji finally got themselves on the board after 64 minutes when a loose ball was gathered by Vereniki Goneva, who backed himself from 40 metres to go in untouched. Volavola added the conversion but they still required three scores in 15 minutes to pick up an unlikely win.

And any thought of a shock result was put to bed three minutes later when replacement hooker Moore crossed from the back of a maul to put the seal on a professional victory, with a late Timoci Nagusa try from close range coming only as a consolation for the Fijians before Speight would have the final say with an unconverted try in the dying embers.

Scorers:

Australia

Tries: Israel Folau (2), Henry Speight (2), Stephen Moore.

Conversions: Bernard Foley (3).

Penalties: Foley (2).

Fiji

Tries: Vereniki Goneva, Timoci Nagusa.

Conversions: Ben Volavola (2).

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