The Fiji Bati have redeemed themselves after their last start loss to Australia, downing Italy by 60-4 in a one-sided match at Kingston Park in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
It was a physical start to this contest and Fiji were asserting itself at Italy's end. Eventually, the pressure took its toll. An error from Luke Polselli off a Brandon Wakeham bomb gave Fiji a great starting field position. From there, it was big Viliame Kikau who crashed over for the first try of the afternoon and early six-point advantage.
A poor error coming out of yardage from Italy's Dean Parata gave Fiji their next points. Kevin Naiqama scooped up the loose ball to race 50 meters to cross and the margin was quickly out to 12-0. Another mistake saw the Bati collect their third try when the Roosters duo of Naiqama and test debutant Vuate Karawalevu took Jake Maizen over the sideline. From there, dummy half Penioni Tagituimua caught the Azzurri asleep on their line and it was looking very ugly for the Italian side.
Italy was able to stop the scoring for a brief moment, but big Kikau had his second try when he was able to get past a poor attempt of tackle from Brendan Santi and it was one-way traffic in the opening half for the Bati. Italy was able to secure some possession and stop the rot. Taniela Sadrugu was lucky to stay on the field after an awful late shot on Nathan Brown, but the Italians were unable to cross the stripe in the first half.
Just before the break, the spirit of the Azzurri was broken when Apisai Koroisau was able to skip his way past the defence and cross virtually untouched for a 30-0 score-line. Fortunately for Italy, it could've been worse as Fiji were playing a game of ‘Hot Potato' at half-time and it nearly delivered a try until Sadrugu slipped at the final moment. This meant the margin remained 30 points at the change of ends.
Fiji began the scoring in the second half. It was set up by the kick return of Karawalevu beating 4 Azzurri to turn defence into attack. From the ensuing tackle, it was a great offload from Koroisau and Tagituimua crossed for his second try and extended the score-line. Four minutes later, a clever banana kick from Brandon Wakeham delivered a horror bounce for Poiselli and it sat up for the big forward Ben Nakubuwai who charged over the top of the young fullback to score. Off the ensuing set, Maika Sivo crossed after Kikau reeled in a kick from Wakeham and found the flying winger to make it 48-0.
Italy went short and following an illegal shot by replacement Henry Raiwalui, they were able to cross for their first try. They stripped the Fiji right-hand side for numbers and it was hattrick hero Jake Maizen who crossed for Italy's only try and add some respectability to the scoreboard. The revival didn't last long as Sivo was on the receiving end of a Kikau offload to cross for his second try and hit the half-century. The Bati crossed for the last try when Naiqama showed and goed before finding Karawalevu who basketball passed back to Taniela Sadrugu and the NQ Cowboys backrower crossed to give Fiji a 56-point victory.