The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians lost to Italy 19-10 in its opening match of the Europe Tour in Catania this morning.
Both sides scored a try apiece although Fiji conceded too many penalties in the second half which paved the way to victory for Italy.
Italy took an early lead courtesy of a Carlo Canna penalty in the fifth minute after Fiji’s backs were blown up for offside play close to their try‑line.
The Azzurri held the upper‑hand for the next 15 minutes but although they set up several attacks inside Fiji’s half, they had no reward as they were met by a solid defensive effort from Fiji.
Fiji thought they had their first try in the 35th minute when Josua Tuisova went over the try‑line after he charged down an attempted clearance kick deep inside Italy’s 22. The try was not awarded, as television replays showed that Tuisova lost control of the ball while crossing the whitewash.
That setback did not prove too costly though as on the stroke of half‑time, Leone Nakarawa burst through a tackle just outside Italy’s 22, and the Fijian lock showed a superb turn of speed to outpace the cover defence before dotting down next to the uprights.
Italy got stronger as the match progressed while Fiji faded badly.
Things went from bad to worse when Ben Volavola was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul at a ruck in the 65th minute.
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