Ugly in­ci­dent mars Fiji’s ad­vance to quar­ter­fi­nals

Sunday News - - LEAGUE - STEVE ZEMEK

FIJI have ad­vanced to the Rugby League World Cup quar­ter­fi­nals, how­ever their 38-10 win over Italy has been over­shad­owed by an ugly in­ci­dent af­ter Jarryd Hayne was sin-binned.

Hayne and Joe Tra­mon­tana were marched from the field for 10 min­utes late in Fri­day night’s first half in Can­berra af­ter an all-in scuf­fle in which the Ital­ian dummy-half threw a punch at Su­liasi Vu­ni­valu.

As Hayne and Tra­mon­tana walked up the GIO Sta­dium tun­nel, Tra­mon­tana had to be re­strained by an Ital­ian staff mem­ber af­ter seem­ingly tak­ing of­fence to some­thing said by Hayne.

De­spite the tour­na­ment not im­pos­ing an au­to­matic sin-bin rule for punch­ing – like that en­forced in the NRL – ref­eree Robert Hicks had no hes­i­ta­tion in sin-bin­ning Tra­mon­tana.

He was one of three play­ers sin-binned in a poor first half, as the Bati fin­ished top of pool D and will meet the loser of yes­ter­day’s New Zealand-Tonga clash in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Fiji winger Vu­ni­valu scored three times in eight min­utes to ex­tend his tour­na­ment tally to eight to take the game out of Italy’s hands mid­way through the sec­ond half.

Af­ter Fiji led 12-4 at half­time, Italy brought the game to life with a con­tender for try of the World Cup.

The Azurri kicked twice be­fore Nathan Milone re­ceived a lucky bounce to score be­tween the posts.

How­ever, af­ter Kevin Naiqama pulled off a try-saver on Mason Cer­ruto, Fiji went the length of the field on the next set to score through Bray­den Wil­iame and GETTY IM­AGES went on with it from there.

‘‘We’ve worked pretty hard to get where we are,’’ Fiji hooker and man of the match Api Koroisau said of their quar­ter­fi­nal ap­pear­ance.

‘‘We have a lot of ex­pec­ta­tions on our­selves and we’re proud to be in the quar­ters and hope­fully we can take it one step fur­ther to the semis.’’

For­mer Can­berra player Terry Cam­pese – play­ing in what was likely his last game – was trou­bled by an an­kle in­jury and his night ended when he was benched in the 57th minute.

The 33-year-old, who this year cap­tain-coached Quean­beyan to a premier­ship in the Can­berra lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion, set up Josh Man­tel­lato for the first Ital­ian try.

‘‘It’s been a long cou­ple of weeks – tear­ing my calf a week be­fore the comp started. I tried ev­ery day to get out on the field with the boys,’’ Cam­pese said.

‘‘I got through yes­ter­day’s ses­sion and it was my first tackle I did my an­kle. I couldn’t be­lieve my luck. I didn’t go out a win­ner but I’m thank­ful for my time in rugby league.’’

Fiji’s Jarryd Hayne was sin-binned af­ter an all-in scuf­fle against Italy in Can­berra.

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