Fiji knock over Tonga in RWC opener

France-based centre Seremaia Bai kicked 12 points and tackled doggedly as Fiji beat Tonga 27-12 in a Rugby World Cup warmup match on Saturday.

Fiji scored three first-half tries to lead 21-5 at halftime but Tonga pressured the home side throughout the second half.

Bai’s goalkicking and rigid midfield defense was critical as Tonga fullback Viliame Iongi scored his second try of the match in a more closely-fought second half.

Fiji seized the lead after only three minutes with a try to winger Vereniki Goneva after Tonga lost the ball inside Fiji’s 22 and fullback Kini Murimurivalu booted the ball downfield for Goneva to collect the bounce and score near the posts. Bai converted.

Tonga responded, moving the ball quickly from a lineout in the 10th minute and Iongi scored in the corner. Flyhalf Samisoni Fisilau missed a conversion which would have tied the scores.

Lock Rupeni Nasiga scored Fiji’s second try after 19 minutes. Albert Vulivuli carried the ball to the line and it was quickly moved wide for Nasiga to score in the corner and Bai to convert from the sideline.

Murimurivalu outflanked the Tonga defense to score in the 35th minute and Bai again converted to give Fiji a comfortable halftime lead.

Iongi scored his second try in the opening minute of the second half to boost Tonga’s hopes, and Fisilau – who had missed two penalties – landed the conversion to cut the lead to 21-12. But Bai landed two second half penalties and rallied a determined Fiji defense to keep the match under control.

Fiji’s win avenged its 45-21 loss to Tonga during the recent Pacific Nations Cup. The teams will meet again in a final warmup match before Tonga meets New Zealand in the opening match of the World Cup in Auckland on Sept. 9.

Fiji 27 (Vereniki Goneva, Rupeni Nasiga, Kini Murimurivalu tries; Seremaia Bai 3 conversions, 2 penalties) Tonga 12 (Viliami Iongi 2 tries; Samisoni Fisilau conversion). HT: 21-5.

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Fixtures today:
12:06am United States vs Georgia
12:28 Fiji vs Tonga
12:50 Wales vs Uruguay
1:12 England vs Portugal
1:34 Argentina vs Hong Kong
1:58 Opening Ceremony
2:30 Australia vs Spain
2:52 France vs Tunisia
3:14 South Africa vs Russia
3:36 Scotland vs Japan
5pm Samoa vs Phillipines
5:22 Kenya vs Zimbabwe
5:44 New Zealand vs Georgia
5:11 United States vs Canada
6:28 Fiji vs Uruguay
6:50 Wales vs Tonga
7:12 Argentina vs Portugal
7:34 England vs Hong Kong
7:56 Australia vs Tunisia
8:18 France vs Spain
8:40 South Africa vs Japan
9:02 Scotland vs Russia
9:24 Zimbabwe vs Phillipines
9:46 Canada vs Georgia
10:08 Tonga vs Uruguay
10:30 Portugal vs Hong Kong
10:52 Spain vs Tunisia
11:14 Samoa vs Kenya


Pool A
28 Jun 2013 –  18:30 Australia flag_AUS 21 – 0 flag_ESP Spain Pool A
28 Jun 2013 –  18:52 France flag_FRA 24 – 7 flag_TUN Tunisia Pool A
Pool B
28 Jun 2013 –  19:14 South Africa flag_RSA 31 – 0 flag_RUS Russia Pool B
28 Jun 2013 –  19:36 Scotland flag_SCO 19 – 17 flag_JPN Japan Pool B
Pool C
28 Jun 2013 –  15:00 Samoa flag_SAM 21 – 14 flag_ZIM Zimbabwe Pool C
28 Jun 2013 –  15:22 Kenya flag_KEN 45 – 5 flag_PHI Philippines Pool C
Pool D
28 Jun 2013 –  15:44 New Zealand flag_NZL 31 – 12 flag_CAN Canada Pool D
28 Jun 2013 –  16:06 USA flag_USA 26 – 19 flag_GEO Georgia Pool D
Pool E
28 Jun 2013 –  16:28 Fiji flag_FIJ 45 – 0 flag_TON Tonga Pool E
28 Jun 2013 –  16:50 Wales flag_WAL 33 – 5 flag_URU Uruguay Pool E
Pool F
28 Jun 2013 –  17:12 England flag_ENG 21 – 7 flag_POR Portugal Pool F
28 Jun 2013 –  17:34 Argentina flag_ARG 47 – 7 flag_HKG Hong Kong Pool F

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