THE Flying Fijians gave their fans 100 reasons to smile as they defeated the Classic All Blacks in the Fiji Rugby Union centennial match at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last night.
The jam-packed crowd at the stadium celebrated with joy following the hard fought 33-14 win over a team which had former All Blacks greats playing.
Head coach Inoke Male said the players were inspired by the achievements of former Fiji rugby heroes which spurred the morale of the team.
Down 6-14 at the half-time, the Akapusi Qera-skippered side ensured that the Fiji rugby fans went home satisfied with the final outcome following a mesmerising performance in the second spell.
"This was a very special occasion for us. This match marked the 100 years of rugby in Fiji and I thank the boys for this win," Male said.
"There was some individual play in the latter stages of the opening half which saw Classic All Blacks score points but I'm happy with the way we performed in the second half.
"This is for the fans and people of Fiji and to all those who have contributed to the success of Fiji rugby in the past 100 years."
Classic All Blacks skipper Justin Marshall saluted the Flying Fijians for playing "intelligent" rugby.
"In the second half, the Fijians changed the game-plan; we didn't expect them to kick the ball that much, their set piece was really good and also their scrum," Marshall who is now a rugby commentator said.
"They turned a lot of balls and played good intelligent rugby.
"The stadium is amazing and the people they love rugby, they not only supported the centenary but they also supported Fijian rugby which looks to be on a real rise."
Fiji scored all its three tries in the second half to Nemani Nadolo, Malakai Ravulo and Setefano Somoca.
Classic All Blacks only try was scored by former Highlanders and All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson.
Fiji 33 (Nemani Nadolo, Malakai Ravulo, Setefano Somoca tries; Seremaia Bai 3 conversions, 4 penalties).
Classic All Blacks 14 (Adam Thomson try; Orene Ai'i 3 penalties).
Flying Fijians - Setefano Somoca, Viliame Veikoso, Campese Maafu, Api Ratuniarawa, Wame Lewaravu, Netani Talei, Akapusi Qera( c), Masi Matadigo, Nikola Matawalu, Jiuta Lutumailagi, Napolioni Nalaga, Seremaia Bai ( vc), Nemani Nadolo, Sireli Bobo, Timoci Naqusa, Tuapate Talemaitoga, Manasa Saulo, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Api Naikatini, Malakai Ravulo, Nemia Kenatale, Simeli Koniferedi, Aisea Natoga
Classic All Blacks - Ben Suisala, AJ Woonton, Nick Barrett, Jason Rutledge, Joe Ward, Jay Williams, Bradley Mika, Jack Whetton, William Whetton, Adam Thomson, Chris Masoe, Jerry Collins, Rodney So'oialo, Justin Marshall (c), Kevin Senio, Orene Ai'I, Murray Williams,Sam Tuitupoou, Derek Carpenter, Josevata Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Rupen Caucaunibuca, Gavin Williams