Fijians' procession fails to impress

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

STEVE BALE

Treorchy 14 Fiji 70

After defeats by Neath and Cardiff, the Fijians may care to believe their visit to the Rhondda was useful therapy 10 days before they play Wales but, astonishing to relate, they contrived to look ordinary even in running up their 70 points and 11 tries.

Brad Johnstone, their technical adviser, gave it away with the number of times he was driven to distraction in the Oval grandstand. As an ex- All Black, he is striving to improve his pupils' habits in technique and decision-making, and plainly is so far not always succeeding.

Harsh reality is that they could well have scored a hundred - which is a harsh reality for Treorchy as well. The valley club were in the Third Division when the Welsh league started and in the five subsequent years have gone from that relative obscurity to qualify for this fixture by finishing third in the First Division last season.

They proclaimed this extraordinary achievement as completion of the first phase in "The Dream". It has become a nightmare. Treorchy have fallen apart so completely that not only are they nothing like as good as they were then, they now have hardly any of the players who were performing with such credit a year ago. David Evans, the one player of distinction still left, lasted all of six minutes yesterday.

The upshot of this mass defection has been a calamitous start to their second First Division season: seven defeats in seven games which have left Treorchy in penultimate place. And now this. For what it was worth, this was comfortably Fiji's biggest score and biggest win in the British Isles, eclipsing the 31-0 by which they beat Swansea in 1973.

But for all the wild passes and knock-ons, it would have been a procession and it was more or less one-way as it was. Treorchy's tackling was never strong enough to withstand the Fijians once they had put together two or three passes, and their tries - one by Andrew Thomas, the other by Carl Hammans - were more consolation than tokens of resistance as the Fijians rattled up five in the first half and six in the second.

Treorchy: Tries Thomas, Hammans; Conversions Lloyd 2. Fiji: Tries Bolobolo 3, Rokotuiviwa 2, Naituvau, Waqa, McLennan, Rouse, Bale, Bogisa; Conversions Waqa 6; Penalty Waqa.

Treorchy: D Lloyd; A Harries, C Hacker, R Morgan, A Lewis; D Evans, C Hammans; M Smith, A Thomas, M Powell, A Gregory, A Freeman, N Jones, I Davies, G Owen (capt). Replacements: for D Evans (W Booth, 6; C Rees, 70), for A Harries (S Eggar, 25), for N Jones (D Owen, 51).

Fiji: J Waqa (Nadroga); P Bale (Canterbury), S Sorovaki (Wellington), W Rokotuiviwa (Rewa), E Bolobolo (Tavua); R Bogisa (Nadi), J McLennan (Auckland); J Veitayaki (King Country, capt), E Batimala (Nadroga), E Natuivau (Suva), A Nadolo (Suva), E Katalau (Poverty Bay), I Tawake (Nadroga), D Rouse (Nadi), W Masirewa (Counties). Replacements: S Vonalagi (Suva) for Tawake, 50.

Referee: R Duhau (France).

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