23 Jun MATCH REPORT | Fiji 27-22 Scotland
Scotland ended their 2017 Summer Tour with a loss after coming up against a motivated and highly-physical Fiji side.
The visitors scored three tries to Fiji’s two, but penalties kicked by stand-off Ben Volavola proved the difference.
Scotland saw the full spectrum of Fijian rugby in the first-half with big hits and off-loads coming thick and fast from the home side.
Despite having two players in the sin bin during the opening 40 minutes Fiji were quick in defence to make turnover tackles and add power at the breakdown to keep Scotland on the back foot.
The first-half failed to have any rhythm with Fiji conceding multiple penalties and Scotland not capitalising on the scoreboard, despite kicking to the corner on several occasions.
The opening score came after Scotland tried to run the ball out of their 22 following a deep Fijian drop out.
Winger Tim Visser kicked into space but the ball was returned with interest and Scotland were penalised at the breakdown.
Volavola slotted the penalty (3-0).
Scotland restarted well and, when Fiji were penalised again, they kicked to the corner and set up a driving maul.
PropPeni Ravai was sin-binned for collapsing the maul and Scotland took another lineout, which they again drove, and Ross Ford piled over to mark his 110th cap and his third try of the tour.
Full-back Ruaridh Jackson converted (3-7).
Scotland tried to establish some momentum to end the half but winger Damien Hoyland was hit hard in midfield and from the turnover Fiji had possession and momentum.
Lock Leone Nakarawa drew in defenders before giving a looping offload to keep the attack alive.
Volavola spotted space on the wing for Patrick Osborne, who gathered, took on Jackson in the 22, before passing to flanker Peceli Yato in support to score in the corner.
With a missed conversion the first-half ended 11-7 to the home side.
Half-time: Fiji 11-7 Scotland
Scotland made changes for the second-half with the injured Duncan Taylor (thumb) and Alex Allan replaced by Greig Tonks, who went to full-back, and Gordon Reid respectively.
The opening minutes of the second-half saw the lead change hands as neither side could retain possession to break clear on the scoreboard.
Fiji extended their lead early into the second period after an Osborne kick into the Scots’ 22 was missed by Tonks. Visser tidied up but was tackled over his own line.
The Scots survived the resulting 5m scrum and cleared their lines through Jackson, now operating at stand-off.
However the visitors were penalised at the resulting lineout and Volavola slotted another three points (14-7).
Fiji held the lead for just three minutes after Scotland put pressure on the home side’s line from the restart.
Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos made a break from a lineout only for the ball to be spilled.
From the resulting scrum Jackson darted over from turnover ball and converted his own first try for Scotland to level the scores (14-14).
Scotland, however, then conceded a blocking penalty from the restart which gave Volavola another easy shot at goal inside the Scotland half (17-14).
After that Scotland were able to put several attacking phases together and drew a penalty after debutant Nick Grigg went close to the line.
Jackson added three points to tie the scores as the hour approached (17-17).
However Nakarawa wasn’t to be denied and from the restart the former Glasgow Warrior swept onto the ball and dropped an offload into the arms of substitute Henry Seniloli who dotted down under the posts.
Volavola quickly converted by drop-kick to take Fiji ahead again (24-17).
Scotland went for it once again putting together a series of neat running phases which Tonks kicked down field for Hoyland to chase down to the Fiji line, but Josua Tuisova countered, bumping the oncoming players, and sparking the counter attack.
Scotland were subsequently penalised inside their own half which Volavola scored to complete a 17 point haul (27-17).
Scotland launched one last attack, gaining territory through a series of Fiji penalties which gave them good field position.
From a lineout Fraser Brown, on for Ford, rumbled over from close range.
A missed Jackson conversion brought up the final score.
Full time: Fiji 27-22 Scotland
Fiji: 15. Kini Murimurivalu; 14. Josua Tuisova, 13. Albert Vulivuli, 12. Jale Vatubua, 11. Patrick Osborne; 10. Ben Volavola, 9. Serupepeli Vularika, 1. Peni Ravai, 2. Sunia Koto, 3. Kalivati Tawake, 4. Tevita Cavubati, 5. Leone Nakarawa, 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7. Peceli Yato, 8. Akapusi Qera CAPTAIN. Substitutes: 16. Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17. Joeli Veitayaki, 18. Mosese Ducivaki, 19. Sikeli Nabou, 20. Naulia Dawai, 21. Henry Seniloli, 22. John Stewart, 23. Benito Masilevu.
Scotland: 15. Ruaridh Jackson; 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Duncan Taylor, 11. Tim Visser; 10. Peter Horne, 9. Henry Pyrgos; 1. Alex Allan, 2. Ross Ford, 3. Willem Nel, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Jonny Gray,6. John Barclay CAPTAIN, 7. John Hardie, 8. Josh Strauss. Substitutes: 16. Fraser Brown on for Ford (50′), 17. Gordon Reid on for Allan (40′), 18. Zander Fagerson on for Nel (50′), 19. Ben Toolis on for Strauss (69′), 20. Hamish Watson on for Hardie (50′), 21. Ryan Wilson on for Barclay (54′), 22. Ali Price on for Pyrgos (60′), 23. Greig Tonks on for Taylor (40′).