With 14 players for an hour, New Zealand has thrashed Fiji 55-15 in their second Oceania Rugby U20s Championship match on the Gold Coast.
In the 19th minute New Zealand lost Wellington centre Billy Proctor who was red carded for a dangerous tackle on his opposite. Ilkena Vudogo leapt for the ball and collided into a Proctor tackle at the same time, tumbling dangerously and winning a penalty which terminated Proctor’s participation.
Initially Proctor had been a catalyst in New Zealand’s first try when he shrugged aside a crowd of Fijian defenders to spark a forwards attack inside the Fijian 22 which was finished by halfback Xavier Roe. Roe impressed with his distribution and urgency.
New Zealand openside Will Tremain was equally busy and in the 15th minute he strided 40-metres after a poor Fijian clearance allowed New Zealand to open up the left side of the defence.
Playing into a stiff first-half breeze, New Zealand lacked the fluency of Friday. It took almost 15 minutes after Proctor’s dismissal for the next try to be scored, prop Sione Asi bumping over from close range.
Fiji enjoyed an edge in territory and won scrum three penalties. However the only points they had to show for their endeavour was a Nabetelevu Turanganivalu penalty after Sefanaia Rabuka busted from an errant lineout tap and caught the Kiwis offside.
New Zealand struck a purple patch early in the second-half with three tries in ten minutes. A Roe charge down was collected by Devan Flanders. Tanielu Tele’a outpaced the cover defense after a quick tap by Roe and then Ngatungane Punivai strolled in following polished handling by both forwards and backs.
Down 36-3, Fiji regrouped and enjoyed their best passage of the match crossing the chalk in the 58th and 66th minutes. Fullback Joseph Mar slipped through and supplied Vudogo before Lekima Nasamila muscled through from a five-metre scrum.
New Zealand was able to empty the bench and the desired impact followed with a Jay Renton box kick being rundown by Jamie Spowart and captain Harry Plummer collecting a brace in the last ten minutes. Plummer’s first try was from a routine scrum move while the final finish would have an impressed an Olympic gymnast. Plummer was rapidly heading into touch, but transferred the ball while in the air and grounded between his legs before going out.
No.8 Samisoni Rabuka was the best of the Fijian’s remaining busy and bustling throughout. Will Tucker was equally abrasive for New Zealand and Plummer after missing all three conversions in the first-half found his range in the second to end with a personal haul of 20 points.
New Zealand plays Australia in their final fixture on Saturday.
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