FLANKER Setareki Koroitamana's early second half intercept try laid the platform for the Fiji Presidents XV's historic 18-9 victory over the Australian Schoolboys team at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday.
This is the first-ever win for any local schoolboys team over their Aussie counterparts since the initial meeting back in 2003.
Former Fiji Schoolboys coach Samisoni Baikeitoga lauded the win as a major achievement by the Fiji President's XV.
He said they had been trying to overcome the Aussies since 2003.
"Today's win is historic as this is our first win over the Australian Schoolboys," Bakeitoga said.
Ratu Navula College student Koroitamana was one of the stars for the Fiji Presidents XV along with first five-eighth Akuila Tabualevu and half-back Adriu Navia. The visitors dominated the scrums and line outs but ball handling cost them dearly. The Australian Schoolboys lost the ball close to the try line on three occasions as the locals defended gallantly.
Fiji Presidents XV team manager Pita Molidua said they stuck to the game plan and got the result that they wanted. He said their solid defence was the key to their victory.
"We just came to play basic rugby with only a week's preparation," Molidua said.
"But things turned out positive. We stuck to the game plan and the boys defended well. At the end we got the result.
"Setareki had shown brilliance for Ratu Navula in the Deans competition. He is one of the best number sevens in secondary schools and he proved that during the game.
"This result will now put the pressure on our main schoolboys team and they will have to work hard to win."
Australia Schoolboys coach Steve Phillpotts said a loss wasn't on the cards in their opening tour match of Fiji and New Zealand.
He said they failed to build on the momentum, losing control of the ball on many occasions.
"We came up against a very passionate side," Phillpotts said.
"The Fiji Presidents VX played very well and caught us on the back foot. We did not play the style of football that we wanted to play.
"We had to play tighter and hold on to the ball and build the phases but we could not hold on to the ball."
The visitors opened their account in the eighth minute after Jovesa Nataqirivitukalulu was shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
Hooker Tom Wilson landed the penalty from 40 metres out.
Tabualevu levelled terms five minutes later with a penalty at the other end.
Both teams were locked 3-all at the break.
The home side got off to a flying start in the second spell with Koroitamana intercepting an Australian Schoolboys pass and running in 75 metres to dot down near the post. Tabualevu converted.
Wilson kicked the second penalty in the 41st minute. Reece Hodge kicked the third penalty for the visitors in the 57th minute to make it a one point ball game.
Jovesa Nataqirivitukalulu scored the Fiji Presidents XV's second try after the Aussies turned over near their 22 metre territory.
Replacement Ratucawa Maciu nailed a penalty in injury time to seal the historic win.
The Fiji Schoolboys will face Australia Schoolboys at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Tuesday.
Fiji Presidents XV: Eparama Turaga, Jovesa Nataqirivitukalulu, Atunaisa Rakota, Pita Nacagilevu, Kemueli Tokalau, Semi Ratucoka, Setareki Koroitamana, Vincent Fisher, Adriu Navia, Akuila Tabualevu, Viliame Kikau, Mosese Serevakayakavi, Viliesa Varawa, Apenisa Buka, Sekoce Lili. Reserves: Alipate Botabota, Savenaca Komaisavai, Richard Matakiwai, Tevita Kasikasi, Jeremaia Nakete, Kelemedi Lenati, Naibuka Nakavo, Ratucawa Maciu, Apimeleki Vunaki.
Australia Schoolboys: Tomas Robertson, Tom Wilson, Matt Sandell, Tom Staniforth, Jack Cornelsen, Adam Korczyk, Brad Wilkin, Lolo Fakaosilea, Andrew Ferris, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Tepai Moeroa, Andrew Robinson, Gareth Kalell, John Porch. Reserves: Siotame Kavapalu, Francois Postal, Neori Nadruku, Mitchell Whiteley, Jack Dempsey, Angus Pulver, Jack Tuttle, Jonah Placid.