Rugby round-up: Fiji roll over Cook Islands to line up World Cup date with England
Saturday 28 June 2014
Fiji have lined themselves up as England’s first opponents at next year’s World Cup after they thrashed the Cook Islands 108-6 in the last qualifying match for the Oceania region in Lautoka, Fiji.
The Fijians will take on the host nation at Twickenham after running in 17 tries. But the Cook Islands – ranked No 46 in the world with only 500 registered players – kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the first time when they led 6-5 after 27 minutes against a Fiji team beset by handling errors. When Fiji’s giant ball-runners began to hold passes and combine in thrilling attacks, the outsiders were overwhelmed.
Fiji will play in Pool A at the World Cup, alongside England, Wales, Australia and a qualifier, and will meet England in the tournament’s opening match at Twickenham.
Fiji scored their first try in the second minute through full-back Matuisela Talebula. Centre Nemani Nadolo scored three tries and Talebula, Adriu Delai, Nikola Matawalu and Timoci Nagusa all scored twice. But Cook Islands fly-half Sam Vaevae slotted two penalties to grab a 6-5 lead and momentarily shake Fiji’s confidence.
When passes began to stick, Fiji’s superiority became immediately obvious and overwhelming, and they added four tries in 13 minutes to lead 29-6 at half-time.
The second half belonged wholly to Fiji, who added 13 more tries to ease past 100 points.
Scotland went into the First Test in Port Elizabeth seeking to extend their run of victories in America, Canada and Argentina but they were overrun by South Africa, crashing 55-6.
Vern Cotter’s men were no match for the hosts, who ran in eight tries in a dominant display, running riot in the first and final quarters, while their cast-iron defence dealt with the gutsy, young Scottish side.
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Serena Williams wins Australia Open 2015: American beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets to claim a sixth title in Melbourne
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election