Wallabies cruise past sloppy Fiji
MATCH REPORT: Australia hardly got out of second gear, but that was all they required as they beat a sloppy Fijian team 37-14 in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Pacific Islanders struggled to get their passing game going - partly due to a solid defensive effort from the Wallabies - and trailed 0-18at the half-time break.
They did eventually get two tries in the second half as they showed glimpses of their off-load game.
However, by then the game was way beyond their reach and the Wallabies had started to ring the changes.
Israel Folau and Henry Speight scored try doubles as Australia launched their international season.
Fullback Folau was outstanding in attack, running over 150 metres for the match, and Fijian-born wing Speight finished well as the Wallabies outscored Fiji five tries to two.
Flyhalf Bernard Foley kicked three conversions and two penalty goals to finish with 12 points.
The Wallabies began well and dominated the first half, but the Fijians had more success in the second half with tries to Vereniki Goneva and Timoci Nagusa.
It was a tonic for the Wallabies to win their season opener by 23 points, with Test debutant Karmichael Hunt catching the eye at inside centre along with towering lock Adam Coleman.
The Wallabies hit the ground running and were 15-0 up in the first 11 minutes.
Foley aimed a high kick to the right wing for Folau, who out-jumped fullback Kini Murimurivalu to score the opening try in the fourth minute.
The Wallabies were in again when forwards Coleman and Scott Higginbotham exchanged passes and gave the opening for Speight to score out wide.
The Wallabies went a man down when Folau was yellow-carded for a high tackle but they added three more points through a Foley penalty goal while the fullback was off the field.
Foley took off from his own quarter with an intercept off a Ben Volavola pass but was run down, before he added a further penalty for an 18-0 lead at half-time.
Fiji-born centre Tevita Kuridrani had a try disallowed when he put his foot into touch early in the second half.
But Foley put Folau through a gap on halfway and he burnt off the Fijian cover defence to score his second try and stretch the Wallabies' lead to 25-0.
Goneva scored Fiji's first try after he beat off Speight's diving tackle, before Stephen Moore came off the substitutes' bench to score a pushover try.
Wing Nagusa dived over for Fiji's second try with three minutes left. But the Wallabies kept the ball alive after the fulltime siren and were rewarded with Speight's second try after great passing from Quade Cooper and Hunt.
Man of the match: Leone Nakarawa showed the experience of playing in the tough French Top 14 and Ben Volavola also had some good moments with limited opportunities. Israel Folau showed his attacking class with two tries and plenty of run metres, but spoilt a great performance with a cheap shot that earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin. Bernard Foley was stead and Scott Higginbotham was productive. However, our award goes to Wallaby flank and captain Michael Hooper - who made plenty of metres with ball in hand, his tackle count was well into double figures and he was a real menace at the breakdown.
Moment of the match: The first Israel Folau try showed the Wallabies' superior class, but it was Folau's second score - in the 54th minute - that truly showed the fullback's class.
Villain: No villains, just a badly beaten team of Fijians.
Tries: Folau 2, Speight 2, Moore
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 2
Tries: Goneva, Nagusa
Cons: Volavola 2
Yellow card: Israel Folau (Australia, 20 - foul play, high tackle)
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Reece Hodge.
Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Akapusi Qera (captain), 7 Naulia Dawai, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Peni Ravai, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Maáfu.
Replacements: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Joeli Veitayaki, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Nemani Nagusa, 22 Seurpepeli Vularika, 23 Benito Masilevu.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)