Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Fiji secure a quarter-final spot with win over Italy

AP, CANBERRA

Fiji winger Suliasi Vunivalu yesterday scored three times within 10 minutes to help secure a Rugby League World Cup quarter-final spot with a 38-10 win over Italy in Pool D.

Fiji led 12-4 after a torrid first half, but Italy cut the margin to two points with a freakish try from inside their own half, opportunistically kicking the loose ball twice up-field before Nathan Milone dived on a lucky bounce and scored under the posts.

Italy appeared set to take a surprise lead before Kevin Naiqama stripped the ball in a try-saving tackle on Mason Cerruto, setting Fiji up for a length-of-the-field try that turned the game back in his team’s favor.

The big, powerful runners from Fiji finished on top of a tiring Italy defense to secure the top spot in the group and a quarter-final match against the loser of today’s match between cohost New Zealand and Tonga at Hamilton, New Zealand.

The Canberra match was marred by an angry exchange in the tunnel after Fiji five-eighth Jarryd Hayne and Italy’s Joe Tramontana were sin-binned for 10 minutes late in the first half.

Tramontana appeared to react aggressively to a comment by Hayne and had to be restrained by team staff.

In other games today, Samoa and Scotland are to meet in Group B and Group A-leading Australia are to host Lebanon in Sydney.

Tomorrow, Papua New Guinea are aiming to wrap up a quarter-final spot from Group C when they play the US at home in Port Moresby before a double-header in Perth, Australia, where Ireland are to play Wales, and England face France.

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