Full Time
5:30am Sun October 16, 2022
Pool Matches - Week 1 - Headingley Stadium, Leeds - Crowd: 13366

Match Overview

The reigning World Cup holders Australia started the defence of their title with a predictably comfortable 42-8 win over Fiji at Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Saturday.

A rampaging double from Canterbury winger Josh Addo-Carr headlined a slow procession of Australian tryscorers in a performance that never hit any spectacular heights - perhaps an odd thing to say about such a sizeable win.

Incredibly it was the Fijians who troubled the scoring first, defying Australia by capitalising on some early poor discipline. Five-eighth Sitiveni Moceidreke put in a pinpoint kick which Canberra back-liner Semi Valemei pounced on. Brandon Wakeham could not convert.

A few minutes on and Australia looked to be on the board, Murray Taulagi denied by some superb defending from both Valemei and Maika Sivo.

On debut, Jeremiah Nanai would eventually return serve for the Australians around the 15-minute mark, Valentine Holmes' conversion - the first of a perfect 7/7 from the Cowboy - put the Aussies ahead by two.

He almost had a double after 22 minutes, but Moceidreke was on hand to stop him along with Ben Nakubuwai.

They didn't have to wait long to extend their lead, Addo-Carr scoring the first of his brace with a long-range effort after some well-created space by Latrell Mitchell.

Just after the half-hour marker Brandon Wakeham looked to have snatched up an Api Koroisau kick but he couldn't get the ball cleanly and a chance to narrow the margin went begging.

The third try for Australia came from Angus Crichton, his 36th-minute effort seeing the lead stretch out to 18-4, which they took to halftime.

Man-of-the-match Cameron Munster kept the scoreboard ticking over shortly after the break, setting up Latrell Mitchell for the fourth Australian try, but the stand-out individual effort of the game was from Harry Grant, who kicked a 40/20 then scored himself on the 53rd minute and suddenly the reigning champions were up 30-4 and the floodgates seemed ready to open.

Indeed Australia it would be Australia only picked up two more tries in the remaining 25 minutes - James Tedesco with a short-range effort into Addo-Carr's second.

The 42-4 lead was narrowed slightly with four minute left when Penrith rookie Sunia Turuva scored a consolation try for the Fijians thanks to a Wakeham grubber.

Next week the Kangaroos are off south to Coventry while the Fiji Bati are in Newcastle to play Scotland. The Kangaroos will have to do it without newly capped forward Reuben Cotter who failed a HIA after a head clash with Fijian prop Tui Kamikamica.

3. Cameron Munster

2. Josh Addo-Carr

1. Harry Grant