|Aled Roberts, Leader of Wrexham Council, presents Fiji full back William Saukuru with his Man of the Match award after the play-off victory over USA at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham on 18 June. Photo: Huw Evans. |
Fiji held on for a hard-earned 13th-16th play-off victory against a USA side that fought admirably right to the end.
USA took an early lead, fly half Sean Treacy slotting his second penalty attempt after five minutes.
Despite Fijian pressure, the Americans came close to extending the margin after 20 minutes when flanker Liam Murphy was held up on the line by the Pacific islanders’ defence.
However, American endeavour was rewarded soon after when prop Shawn Pittman crossed for a close-range try. Treacy failed to convert, leaving the score at 8-0.
Adventurous running from wing Wiliame Umu brought Fiji’s first points of the game after 36 minutes, second row Joseva Levula crossing from a ruck to make the score 8-5.
Fijian pressure paid further dividends, with Umu crossing for a scrappy try after a break from full back William Saukuru. Fly half Sakiusa Malai Bulivakarua converted to give the Fijians a 12-8 half-time lead.
They extended their lead soon after the restart, with wing Patemio Kocoturaga crossing in the corner, a narrow conversion miss for Bulivakarua leaving the score at 17-8.
However, USA were not going to allow the game to get away from them easily, and responded in the 55th minute with a try from centre Nate Ebner, whose strength helped carry him over the line. Treacy converted from wide to keep the Americans in contention at 17-15.
A yellow card for prop Serupepeli Qaranivalu after 61 minutes looked to give USA the advantage but it was Fiji who scored soon after, replacement John Stewart crossing to give his side a 22-15 lead.
Despite another near miss for Stewart, who was adjudged to have knocked the ball on while grounding it, the Americans kept attacking the Fijian defence and were rewarded in the 87th minute with a penalty try converted by Treacy to give the Americans some consolation before the final whistle. QUOTES Rayne Simpson (Fiji Coach):
“We controlled the set pieces and our forwards gave us an excellent platform to give our backs the opportunity to play the Fijian way. We look forward to our challenge with our neighbours Tonga, and I am sure it will be an exciting match for the spectators.” Jese Cirikisuva (Fiji Captain):
“I am pleased that the team kept their discipline and gave our backs the opportunity to shine.” Salty Thompson (USA Coach):
“We cannot fault the effort of the players at this higher level. They gave all they had and although the results do not reflect it, there has been an overall improvement in our performance.” Scott Lavalla (USA Captain)
: “Let’s make no mistake, we came over here to win games. There are a lot of tired legs out there, and despite a gallant effort, we failed to keep up with the pace of the Fijians.” Thursday 17 June 2008
Fiji 27 USA 22
IRB Junior World Championship
Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Taizo Hirabayashi (Japan) FIJI
: 15 William Saukuru, 14 Patemio Kocoturaga, 13 Isikeli Vuruna, 12 Eroni Tara (John Stewart 53), 11 Wiliame Umu, 10 Sakiusa Malai Bulivakarua, 9 Anare Vakawaletabua (Peni Rokodiva 73), 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Jese Cirikisuva (capt), 6 Uraia Vecenadavui (Waqabaca Kotobalavu 73), 5 Joseva Levula, 4 Temo Vakaloloma (Tevita Tuiloa 61), 3 Jeke Lalai, 2 Saula Qalomai (Seru Cakobau 72), 1 Serupepeli Qaranivalu (Yellow card 64-73) (Saulo Romumu 73) Not used:
Alex Rokobaro Tries:
Levula, Umu, Kocoturaga, Stewart, Saukuru; Conversion:
15 Tim Moxness, 14 Adam Ducoing (Gareth Jones 41), 13 Thretton Palamo, 12 Nate Ebner, 11 Zach Test, 10 Sean Treacy, 9 Steven Sabian, 8 Taylor Mokate, 7 Barry Sheehan, 6 Liam Murphy, 5 Scott Lavalia (capt), 4 Kevin Erskine, 3 Shawn Pittman, 2 Bill Wynne (Maxine Paganini 35-39, 83), 1 Stevie Johnson Not used:
Ryan Fitcher, Teddy Barron, Scott Metcalf, Austin Cella, Tyler Siceloff Tries:
Pittman, Palamo, Penalty try; Conversion:
Treacy (2); Penalty goals:
Treacy Scoring Sequence (Fiji’s scores shown first):
6min – PEN GOAL USA, Treacy 0-3
24min – TRY USA, Pittman – 0-8
34min – TRY FIJI, Levula – 5-8
43min – TRY FIJI, Umu; conversion Malai – 12-8
44min – TRY FIJI, Kocoturaga – 17-8
55min – TRY USA, Palamo; conversion Treacy – 17-15
68min – TRY FIJI, Stewart – 22-15
73min – TRY FIJI, Saukuru – 27-15
88min – PENALTY TRY USA ; conversion Treacy – 27-22