Juniors too strong for Fiji     03 Jun 2007    

It was a dominating performance from the New Zealanders who punished Fiji in both lineouts and scrums, with several tightheads resulting after the Fijian scrum disintegrated.

The Juniors scored eight tries to one, and put their forward power to use to minimise the opportunities for the home team to string together the dangerous moves for which they are renowned.

No.8 Mose Tuiali'i was in outstanding form and it was his outstanding break that produced the try of the first half. From a scrum in the Juniors half, he broke on the blindside, fended off blindside flanker Alifereti Doviverata and sprinted down the sideline.

When he was looked blocked he centre-kicked and right wing Rico Gear was perfectly positioned to secure the ball and score.

Tuiali'i complemented the driving work of the tighter forwards while halfback Andrew Ellis appeared rejuvenated behind the pack and was quick in his distribution which the backs used to effect.

The Juniors kept the ball tight in the initial stages to drive the ball at the Fijian pack.

The ploy worked as good position was gained just out from the Fiji line for the ball to be moved and with Gear joining the backline, the ball was cleared through wing Anthony Tuitavake to feed centre Casey Laulala over in the corner after seven minutes. First five-eighths Stephen Donald added the conversion.

From a mid-field scrum after 21 minutes the ball was moved to the right where fullback Cory Jane joined the line and when held flicked a pass to Gear. He headed back infield and when grounded went to ground where Ellis burst his way through to go over for a good try when held in the tackle.

A massive pushover scrum by the Junior All Blacks saw the ball moved left, then back right and after Gear created a yard for Jane near the sideline, the fullback was able to spin and drive to get over the line to score after 30 minutes.

Then with six minutes of the half remaining, Tuiali'i made his break.

Tuiali'i had his reward three minutes into the second half when the Fiji scrum was once again pressured and with a drive to the line, Tuiali'i hugged the sideline and received a blindside pass from Ellis to run over in the corner.

More scrum power, and a Fijian infringement on their own line resulted in a penalty try to the Juniors in the 55th minute with Stephen Brett, who had moved in one position to substitute for Donald, adding the conversion.

Second five-eighths Gabiriele Lovobalavu provided some delight for the home crowd by securing the ball after he chipped ahead to score its only try of the game.

But with the changes being run by the Juniors coaches, it was wing replacement Scott Hamilton who crossed after more sustained forward power in the Fiji 22m area.

Right on fulltime it was a grubber kick by Brett that saw replacement second five-eighths Tane Tu’ipulotu who scored the last try.


Junior All Blacks 57 (Casey Laulala, Andrew Ellis, Cory Jane, Rico Gear, Mose Tuiali'i, penalty, Scott Hamilton, Tane Tu'ipulotu tries; Stephen Donald 4 con, pen; Stephen Brett 3 con) Fiji 8 (Gabiriele Lovobalavu try; Vitori Buatava pen). HT: 29-3