Scotland beats Fiji

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Scotland's Dutch-born winger Tim Visser scored two tries on debut and flyhalf Greig Laidlaw contributed 22 points as the tourists beat Fiji 37-25 in a one-off rugby test on Saturday.

Visser's second try in the 77th minute clinched Scotland's win after Fiji had come from 27-11 down in the 45th minute to trail by only two points, 27-25, with 15 minutes remaining.

Laidlaw scored a try and kicked four conversions and three penalties to keep Scotland in front, ensuring it avoided a repeat of its 51-26 loss to Fiji in Suva in 1998.

Scotland overcame hot and humid conditions at Lautoka's Churchill Park and a display of typical backline brilliance from Fiji to post its second win on its southern hemisphere tour after it's 9-6 victory over Australia 12 days ago. In six meetings between the teams, Scotland has won on five occasions and Fiji only once.

Scotland was able to control the match through strong set-piece play and an accurate kicking game guided by Laidlaw. Fiji showed vulnerability under the high ball and was pressured at scrums, conceding a penalty try from a scrum collapse in the 23rd minute.

The penalty try and tries to Visser and Laidlaw allowed Scotland to take a 24-11 lead to halftime and it expanded that to 27-11 with a Laidlaw penalty in the 45th minute.

Fiji rushed back into the match through the middle of the second half with tries to Waisea Nayacalevu in the 48th minute and Metuisela Talebula in the 65th. Flyhalf Jonetani Raululu converted Talebua's try on debut to cut the lead to 27-25 as the hosts looked like overwhelming the Scots.

Laidlaw eked out the lead to 30-25 by kicking his fourth penalty, then the fast and powerful Visser touched down for the second time to ensure Scotland escaped with a win.

Visser made his debut only five days after completing a three-year period of residency to qualify for Scotland selection. The Edinburgh winger has been the leading tryscorer in Scottish club rugby for the past three seasons.

Fiji had taken an early 6-0 led with penalties to Raululu but Scotland hit back with three first half tries to take charge of the match. It remained wary at all times of Fiji's counterattacking ability which was best displayed in Talebua's try.

“We're pleased to win,” Scotland captain Ross Ford said. “We knew how tough Fiji would be. They're very dangerous on counterattack and they showed us that today.

“They scored some very good tries, they're very dangerous and we had to be on our toes the whole game.”

The respective captains, Ford for Scotland and Netani Talei for Fiji, were teammates until last season at the Edinburgh club.

“I take my hat off to the boys, we played really well,” Talei said. “We tried to improve on our last few games and I think we did.

“We still lacked a little bit in terms of playing for 80

minutes. We slacked off a little bit but I'm still very happy with the way the boys played, amazing.”

Scotland next plays Samoa in Apia while Fiji faces Tonga next Saturday in the final match of the Pacific Nations Cup.

Scotland 37 (Tim Visser 2, Greig Laidlaw tries; penalty try; Greig Laidlaw 4 conversions, 3 penalties), Fiji 25 (Josefa Domolailai, Waisea Nayacalevu, Metuisela Talebula tries; Jonetani Raululu 2 conversions, 2 penalties). HT: 24-11. - Sapa-AP


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