Nine tries, six in the opening half, gave Ireland a comfortable 64-17 win over Fiji at a well attended Lansdowne Road with Kevin Maggs scoring a hat-trick.
Nine tries, six in the opening half, gave Ireland a comfortable 64-17 win over Fiji at a well attended Lansdowne Road with Kevin Maggs scoring a hat-trick. It was a game that to all intents and purposes was well over by half-time, at which stage Ireland led 39-3 against a Fijian side who, to say the least, performed disappointingly. Their famed handlng let them down on countless occasions and their attacking efforts were easily dealt with by the Irish defence.
The visitors did up their game somewhat in the second half and scored the opening try of that period after five minutes when Alivereti Mocelutu scored after the Filians had peppered the Irish line right and left. They should have scored moments earlier in that movement when Waisale Serevi knocked-on with the line at his mercy. Overall, Serevi did little to enhance his reputation. He kicked ball down the throat of Geordan Murphy time and again and we saw very little of his silken running skills.
Nor was the Fijian cause helped by a poor line-out or the indifferent form of their Saracens out-half Nicky Little. In fact, it was when Little was replaced by Joseph Narruhn in the 52nd minute, that we saw some degree of continuity creep into the Fijian backline.
However, by then Ireland were home and hosed thanks to a patient and clinical first half performance which yielded a brace of tries for Man of the Match, Kevin Maggs and for Murphy plus tries from Brian O’Driscoll and Justin Bishop.
The Irish inflicted the serious damage in the second quarter of the game. They led 15-0 going into that period and then ran in four tries in the space of 12 minutes.
The Fijians injected a little urgency into their play after the restart and they were rewarded with that Mocelutu try. But Ireland responded with a try from Kieron Dawson six minutes later and another from Anthony Foley in the 56th minute.
After that Eddie O’Sullivan sent on his replacements. Gordon D’Arcy looked lively on the ball, Mick O’Driscoll took some clean two-handed line-out ball and the second half ended, as the first had done, with a Kevin Maggs try, his third of the afternoon.