THE Malawi Queens proved too strong for the Fiji Pearls as they won the first Test match 62-45 yesterday.
The fifth ranked team in the world showed the crowd at the Vodafone Arena in Suva, the gap between them and the seventh ranked Fiji.
Superior ball control, defence, attack and athleticism proved too much for the national side to handle as they lost every quarter of the match.
The visitors were the first on the board and stormed to a 6-0 lead before the hosts scored their first points after five minutes.
Fiji managed to keep Malawi at bay in the first quarter as they went down 16-12. The gap increased at halftime to 35-21.
Cat-like flexibility, long passes and high jumping allowed the Queens to win the aerial battle as they further increased their lead to 47-32 in the third quarter.
Malawi had more gas left in the tank and they remained in command during the last quarter until the final whistle to win 62-45.
Team coach Griffin Saenda said they could have done better had they played at full tempo.
"This is almost half of what we are capable of," he said.
"But we respect our friends, the Fijians, and we didn't play a harsh game with them."
He said their matches against Australia and New Zealand helped them figure out where their weaknesses were.
"So we just worked on that in this match and we will not need to make any further improvements for the next Test because we are just here to play a normal game."
National coach Unaisi Rokoura said the match was a good lesson for the younger members in her side.
"This was a good opportunity for us to play the Malawi side," she said.
"They played a different style of the game and we were caught chasing them."
She said they would now go back to the drawing board to identify their weaknesses before the next match tomorrow afternoon.
"We held the ball too long while they made swift passes and some of our girls it was the first time playing against Malawi so they really learnt a lesson here today (yesterday).
"And Jane Costello got some game time; it is her first cap for the national side and she just went straight into the game when we sent her in.
"I told her to irritate the opponents and that is exactly what she did. So now we know their style of play and we have a whole day to improve for the next match."
The second and final test will be played at 3pm tomorrow at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.