Nadolo scores hat-trick in Flying Fijians six-try feat

The Flying Fijians marked their return to international rugby today with a six-try 38-24 victory over Georgia to secure seventh place in the Autumn Nations Cup 2020.

Nemani Nadolo scored three of the six tries under gloomy and wet conditions at Murrayfield Stadium – one in the first half and two in the second half – to pick up the man of the match award. 

Josua Tuisova, and Test debutants Johnny Dyer and Mesulame Kunavula also crossed the line for Fiji’s tries.

 Nadolo started the rampage less than two minutes into the game, feeding off a loose pass out on the left-wing, and proved to be a handful for Georgia fullback Soso Matiashvili who could not stop the 6ft 5, 120kg winger from crossing for Fiji’s first try. Fly-half Ben Volavola could not convert the try, but he made amends six minutes later, adding the extras following Dyer’s close-range try to extend Fiji’s lead 12-0.

Georgia pulled one back to get their first points on the board after Levani Botia was penalised for going off his feet in an attempt to turn the ball over at the breakdown. Tedo Abzhandadze stepped up to take a successful shot at goal.

However, that penalty was quickly forgotten when Botia selflessly put himself on the line to draw in tackles, freeing up Tuisova out on right-wing to score. Volavola added the extras and Fiji extended their lead 19-3. Georgia prop Giorgi Melikidze scored their first try to reduce the deficit by nine points going into the break.

Both teams struggled in the early stages of the second half. Georgia could not build on the momentum they had set in the latter stages of the first half while Fiji struggled with coordination that cost the side a pushover try that was disallowed.

Fiji’s persistence paid off with Kunavula going over in the 54th minute, followed by Nadolo’s two – in the 59th and 63rd minute. Georgia pulled back two quick tries via Beka Sahginadze, but it was not enough to change the direction of the game.

This was Fiji’s first and final Autumn Nations Cup match after all three of their pool games were cancelled due to a coronavirus outbreak in camp.

GEORGIA (10) 24

Starting line-up: 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Sandro Todua, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalaghonia, 7 Beka Saghinadze, 6 Otar Giorgadze, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Lasha Jaiani, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili ; Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Grigol Kerdikoshvili, 20 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Demur Tapladze, 23 Davit Niniashvili

Tries: Melikidze (23′), Saghinadze (67′, 79′); Conversions: Abzhandadze (24′, 68′, 80′); Penalty: Abzhandadze (11′)

FIJI (19) 38
Starting line-up:
 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Semi Radradra (c), 12 Levani Botia 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Mesulame Kunavula, 6 Johnny Dyer, 5 Temo Mayanavanu, 4 Tevita Ratuva, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Samuel Matavesi, 1 Peni Ravai; Replacements: 16 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Haereiti Hetet, 18 Samuela Tawake, 19 Chris Minimbi, 20 Manueli Ratuniyarawa, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Seru Vularika, 23 Waisea Nayacalevu

Tries: Nadolo (2′, 59′, 63′), Dyer (6′), Tuisova (18′), Kunavula (54′), Conversions: Volavola (8′, 19′, 56′, 64′)

Photo: Fiji Rugby Media

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