Townsend praises side’s game management as they defeat Fiji

Kettle Collective


Tommy Seymour scored a brilliant hat-trick of tries as Scotland turned on the style to defeat Fiji 54-17 at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

In the first half the strong-running visitors gave Scotland a real test, but after the break Gregor Townsend’s men took control and ran in five tries to add to their three from the first half.

The visitors took an early lead thanks to a penalty from stand-off Ben Volavola in the third minute.

Five minutes later the same man missed another attempt, but they had certainly given Scotland note of their intentions.

Scotland hit back in the 13th minute when, after some good phases and patience saw loosehead prop Allan Dell burrow over from close range. Skipper Greig Laidlaw converted and it was 7-3.

That score gave the Scots’ confidence and they began to play a wider game to try and stretch the Fijians.

Centre Pete Horne burst through the defence and went close to a try before, a couple of phases later, hooker Fraser Brown went over. Laidlaw converted for 14-3.

An overthrown Scotland lineout in the 23rd minute set-up Fiji for their first try.

Some good hands fed the ball onto the rampaging No.8 Viliame Mata, the Edinburgh Rugby man, who barged his way under the posts from 20 metres. Volavola converted.

Eroni Vasiteri then replaced Setareki Tuicuvu at full-back for Fiji.

And just before the half hour mark the got their second, a good break by scrum-half Frank Lomani eventually seeing the ball shipped wide and centre Semi Radradra bagging the converted effort.

The returning Josh Strauss then replaced Matt Fagerson at No.8 for the home side.

Scotland v Fiji

This end to end affair just kept on giving and, with Scotland attacking quickly in the 32nd minute, Fiji second-row Tevita Cavubati was yellow carded for collapsing a maul.

Scotland thought they had scored two minutes later, but after TMO Ben Skeen had a look at Brown’s second ‘try’ it was ruled out, back-row Jamie Ritchie deemed to have obstructed the opposition.

The Scots kept knocking on the door for try number three though and, in the 38th minute, Fiji were down to 13 men when second-row Leone Nakarawa, the former Glasgow Warriors’ favourite, collapsed a maul.

With a two man advantage, Scotland did get another try before the interval, a wide looping pass from stand-off Finn Russell seeing Seymour in for the try.

Laidlaw converted and it was 21-17 at half-time.

Cavubati returned to the field soon after the restart, but with a one man advantage Scotland managed to get try number four in the 43rd minute.

Pete Horne went close again before Russell found winger Maitland who went over from a few metres out, Laidlaw converting to make it 28-17.

Volavola missed a long range penalty for Fiji Scotland then replaced centre Alex Dunbar with Chris Harris while Manasa Saulo was relieved of his duties at tighthead prop for Fiji, Kalivate Tawake coming on.

Scotland knew that a fifth try would break Fiji’s resistance and, with a whole new front-row on, they went looking for it.

And it came before the hour mark, Seymour running a great short line infield to go under the posts for his 18th Scotland try in his 45th Test appearance.

Scotland v Fiji

Try number 19 was not far away, coming in the 62nd minute after a great pass by Harris put him in at the corner. Hogg missed the conversion.

They were not done there though, further tries coming from Ritchie and replacement Adam Hastings to get over the 50 point mark.


Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend

“Obviously delighted. Fiji were always going to be a tough opponent and we saw they could score from anywhere.

“We stuck to our task, got a grip of the game and then they came back into the game and were leading.

“To stick to what we felt was going to work was pleasing and the players built throughout the game, either through our defensive performance, where we kept them to zero points in the second half, or through our set-piece, where we mauled and scrummaged really well, and also through our phase play.

“We kept on with that detailed approach around the set-piece which narrowed up the Fiji defence in the second half and allowed guys like Tommy Seymour and others to score tries.”

Scotland v Fiji



Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, Dunbar (Harris 49), P Horne (Hastings 72), Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw (C) (G Horne 61); Dell (Allan 54), Brown (McInally 51), Nel (Berghan 54), Skinner, Gilchrist, Wilson (Gray 61), Ritchie, Fagerson (Strauss 30).

Fiji: Tuicuvu (Vasiteri 24); Talebula (Veitokani 64), Radradra, Vatubua, Goneva; Volavola, Lomani (Seniloli 61); Ma’afu (Mawi 58), Matavesi (Dolokoto 60), Saulo (Tawake 49), Cavubati (Tuisu 68), Nakarawa, Waqaniburotu (C), Yato (Kunatani 64), Mata.


Scotland: Tries: Dell (13), Brown (19), Seymour (39, 57, 62), Maitland (43), Ritchie (77), Hastings (79). Cons: Laidlaw (13, 19, 39, 43, 57), Russell (77, 79).

Fiji: Tries: Mata (23), Radradra (29). Pen: Volavola (3). Cons: Volavola (23, 29).

Yellow cards: Fiji: Cavubati (32), Nakarawa (38).

 Red cards: none.

Tennent’s Man of the Match: Skinner (Scotland).

Referee: Brace (Ireland).

Attendance: 67, 144.

Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the images

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