Poor Show Disappoints Coach
The Vodafone Flying Fijians need to lift their game if they are to stand a chance against England in Twickenham this Saturday. The Akapusi Qera captainedside were demolished by the Barbarians 40-7 under heavy ground conditions at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Nothern Ireland, yesterday. Flying Fijians head coach John McKee was disappointed with the team’s performance as they failed to execute what they had planned to do. The Flying Fijians had no structure in their play and their set piece was in disarray. These were coupled with poor handling, feeble tackles and wrong options being taken at crucial times of the game.
HOW IT WENT?
The Andy Ellis-captained Barbarians stamped their mark right from the opening whistle and it only took them 25 minutes to score 28 points. From a rolling maul, Lions hooker Akker van der Merwe scored the first try in the second minute of play, which was converted from wide out by first five eight Robert du Preez. Then in the 5th minute a poor clearance kick by Ben Volavola was charged down by Barbarians No.8 Luke Whitelock and the ball was spun out wide to winger Matt Faddes to score in the corner, which was converted by du Preez as they rode to a 14-0 lead. In the 18th minute burly Fijianborn Barbarian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro ran over Waisea Nayacalevu and Dominiko Waqaniburotu before slipping a pass to Ellis who set-up van der Merwe to score his second try, which was converted, 21-0. The Barbarians kept making inroads in the Fijian defence with their big men Sam Carter, Jordan Taufua, Whitelock, Michael Fatialofa and Ben Franks leading the charge. This paid dividend in the 25th minute when Ellis scored an easy try beside the post, which again was converted leaving the scores at 28-0.
The Flying Fijians started the second half strongly and hooker Jale Sassen lost the ball right on the tryline as it was ripped away by Carter. Sassen later fumbled the ball twice and was replaced by veteran Sunia Koro. Then in the 53rd minute Volavola came off the field while Nemia Kenatale came in at halfback as Serupepeli Vularika moved to first five eight. The move sparked the Fijians as they kept on the pressure a reverse pass from Manasa Saulo saw Qera on the clear but was brought down short of the tryline with Nayacalevu following up closely to pick up the loose ball and score a try. Nemani Nadolo coverted it as they trailed 28-7. Poor handling marred many of Fiji’s promising moves and the Barbarians were able to launch their counter attacks. In the 74th minute Richard Mou’nga ran in Barbarians fifth try, which was converted as they extended the lead 35-7. And right on the dying minutes of the match, Luke Morahan was at hand with a try to leave the final scores at 40-7.
Lock Api Ratuniyarawa leads the charge as Barbarians No.8 Luke Whitelock closes in yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir
Vodafone Flying Fijians centre Asaeli Tikoirotuma, right, ready to tackle Barbarians Richard Buckman yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir
Vodafone Flying Fijians halfback Serupepeli Vularika takes on the Barbarians defence yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir