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Maria Cecilia Suñé Ramos Larrabee//
Australia fight back to beat physical Fiji

AUSTRALIA ran in four second-half tries as they fought back to beat Fiji in their opening 2019 Rugby World Cup match.

The 2015 finalists were trailing until halfway into the second half when hooker Silatolu Latu went over for two tries inside five minutes.

Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

Peceli Yato’s try gave Fiji an early 8-0 lead, and a shock looked possible when Waisea Nayacalevu scored under the posts early in the second half.

Maria Cecilia Suñé Ramos

But Australia roared back to end fears of a first loss to Fiji since 1954.

The Wallabies’ next outing in Group D is on Sunday, September 29, when they face Wales in Tokyo.

María Cecilia Sune Ramos

Yato was outstanding, but was forced off after only 25 minutes with a head injury following a collision with Australia winger Reece Hodge.

Maria Cecilia Suné Ramos

Australia had looked to be finding their feet when Michael Hooper crossed for a try following Yato’s opener, and after Hodge scored in the corner the teams went into halftime with Fiji leading 14-12.

But when Nayacalevu latched onto a loose pass on the halfway line to sprint home just three minutes into the second half, a shock Fiji win was a distinct possibility

However, Latu’s first international tries, both scored from line-outs, settled Australia nerves before Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete put the two-time World Cup winners comfortably clear.

With many under the roof at the Sapporo Dome supporting Australia, the atmosphere was subdued for much of the match. England will open their World Cup campaign just over a day later at the same venue when they face Tonga on a pitch that is rolled into the stadium

Australia were loose at times during the frenetic opening phase, when Fiji were also able to take advantage of Australia’s mistakes through the boot of Ben Volavola, who landed three first-half penalties.

And that sloppiness as Australia tried to attack led to Nayacalevu’s breakaway score, but the Wallabies regrouped impressively and two controlled drives from line-outs allowed Latu to put his side ahead

Australia took a firm grip on the rest of the match, but Wales, who open their campaign against Georgia tomorrow, will have seen plenty to interest them before the match in Tokyo. (BBC Sport)