Sivivatu signals All Blacks' ruthless intent

New Zealand 91 Fiji 0
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sir Clive Woodward is intent on playing at least some of his Lions cards close to his chest in the run-up to the first Test with the All Blacks in a fortnight's time, and the New Zealanders are keen on something similar. Why else take on a side as weak as Fiji in the only warm-up match available to them, if not to maintain some semblance of secrecy?

Sir Clive Woodward is intent on playing at least some of his Lions cards close to his chest in the run-up to the first Test with the All Blacks in a fortnight's time, and the New Zealanders are keen on something similar. Why else take on a side as weak as Fiji in the only warm-up match available to them, if not to maintain some semblance of secrecy?

The silver-ferned brigade showed precisely nothing in yesterday's mind-numbingly one-sided Test at the North Harbour Stadium. Here was another heart-rending chapter in the saga of the impoverishment of rugby in the Pacific islands, and the fact that the All Blacks awarded a first cap to the hottest Fijian wing of the moment, Sitiveni Sivivatu, was confirmation of the divide between the haves and have-nots.

Sivivatu, born in Suva and the first cousin of Joe Rokocoko, another Fijian-turned-New Zealander, announced himself with a tackle of the GBH variety on Vilimoni Delasau and put himself on the scoreboard with a simple try from Daniel Carter's diagonal kick on 18 minutes. By that time, the All Blacks were already 14 points to the good. They continued to register more than a point a minute until the Welsh referee Nigel Whitehouse called off the dogs with the no-side whistle. By then, Sivivatu had helped himself to four tries.

What to make of it? Double bugger-all squared, to use the time-honoured phrase. Ali Williams looked useful at lock, as did Doug Howlett on the wing, Richie McCaw on the flank and golden boy Carter at outside-half. So what? But for Sisa Koyamaibole, their wonderful No 8, Fiji would have shipped three figures. And where does Koyamaibole play his club rugby? You guessed it - New Zealand.

Right at the death, the Wellington flanker Jerry Collins stopped two Fijians dead in their tracks to deny them so much as a consolation score. It said far more, about the All Blacks' mood than anything they achieved in attack.

New Zealand: Tries Sivivatu 4, Howlett 2, Umaga 2, Carter, Somerville, Mauger, Williams, So'oialo, Mealamu, Muliaina. Conversions Carter 5, Mauger 3.

New Zealand: M Muliaina (Auckland); D Howlett (Auckland), T Umaga (Wellington, capt), A Mauger (Canterbury), S Sivivatu (Waikato); D Carter (Canterbury), B Kelleher (Waikato); A Woodcock , D Witcombe (both Auckland), G Somerville (Canterbury), J Ryan (Otago), A Williams (Auckland), J Collins (Wellington), R McCaw (Canterbury), R So'oialo (Wellington). Replacements: S Anesi (Waikato) for Carter, h-t; S Lauaki (Waikato) for McCaw, h-t; K Mealamu (Auckland) for Witcombe 51; C Johnstone (Canterbury) for Woodcock, 52; J Marshall (Canterbury) for Kelleher, 56; C Jack (Canterbury) for Williams, 57; C Smith (Wellington) for Umaga, 59.

Fiji: N Ligairi (Yamaha); V Delasau (Canterbury), V Satala (Toyota-Shokki), S Bai (Secom), S Bobo (Parma); N Little (Saracens), M Rauluni (Saracens, capt); J Bale (Marist Suva), V Gadolo (Lomaiviti), B Cavubati (Masterton), A Matanibukaca (Nadi), I Domolailai (Marist Auckland), I Rawaqa (World Japan), A Ratuva (Agen), S Koyamaibole (Taranaki). Replacements: S Tabua (Randwick) for Domolailai, 28-36; Tabua for Matanibukaca, 48; J Railomo (NMA) for Cavubati, 53; J Qovu (Senibiau) for Satala, 63; E Ruivadra (World Japan) for Ratuva, 63; J Rauluni (Rotherham) for M Rauluni, 70.

Referee: N Whitehouse (Wales).

Comments