Volavola’s field goal helps Fiji to defeat Italy

ben volaFive-eighth Ben Volavola has kicked a field goal in the second minute of injury time to give Fiji a 22-19 win over Italy in their rugby Test in Suva.

Volavola’s opposite Tomasso Allan had kicked a penalty three minutes earlier to draw Italy level at 19-19 after they had trailed 19-9.

A draw seemed the likely outcome until lock Leone Nakarawa led a length-of-the-field break by Fiji with time almost up. The 95-metre raid almost ended in a remarkable match-winning try to Jale Vatubua but the centre dropped the final pass with the line open.

Fiji stayed on the attack, won a penalty advantage after the siren and Volavola calmly slotted the field goal.

Fiji scored twice in the first half, through centres Eroni Vasiteri and Vatubua to lead 14-9 at the break. They extended their lead to 19-9 early in the second half with a third try to Vereniki Goneva.

Allan kept Italy in the match, kicking five goals from five attempts. He landed three penalties before halftime, then converted a 53rd-minute try to lock Maxime Mbanda which came from a well-executed rolling maul.

Fiji paid heavily for a lack of discipline, conceding eight penalties at the scrum where the Italian pack were dominant. Tenth-ranked Fiji still managed to hang on and eventually snatch a win which will boost their confidence ahead of next weekend’s clash with Scotland.

“It was a good performance by Italy,” Fijian captain Akapusi Qera said. “We were expecting that tough challenge from them.

“On our side, the boys hung in there. It was a tough workout for us and a good build-up to the game against Scotland.”

Italy play Australia next Saturday in Brisbane.

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