CANTERBURY Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo scored 15 points to help the Vodafone Flying Fijians beat Italy 25-14 yesterday.
Playing at inside centre, Nadolo scored Fiji's first try, kicked two conversions and two penalties in the match at the ANZ Stadium.
Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Napolioni Nalaga were the other try scorers for the hosts as Fiji maintained their perfect record against Italy on home soil.
This was the tenth Test match between the two teams and both sides are now locked with five wins each with all of Fiji's wins coming on home soil and all of Italy's coming overseas.
It was Italy that drew first blood when they were awarded a penalty try when Fiji kept wheeling their scrum five metres from the line.
Nadolo's try closed the gap to 7-5 and fly half Jonetani Ralulu missed a few attempts at goals so the score remained unchanged until half time.
In the second half, Waqaniburotu weaved through the retreating Italy defence to score under the posts and Nadolo made no mistake from the conversion right in front to put Fiji in the lead 12-7.
Two penalties from Nadolo from close range extended Fiji's lead to 18-7 but another penalty try to Italy for Fiji infringing at the scrum five metres from the tryline allowed Italy to close the gap to 18-14 with seven minutes left on the clock.
Nalaga then scored a try in the corner which signalled Fiji's win two minutes from full-time and Nadolo's conversion from the sideline confirmed victory.
Coach John McKee was pleased with the performance of his players who gave him his first win as Fiji's coach.
"We were under a lot of pressure especially around the scrums but our guys did very well and at times, we held our own (scrums) and put them under pressure," he said.
"It was pleasing for me how we were, later in the game, able to play our game and run the ball and give the ball to our backline and winger to run the ball."
He said Italy was lucky to get the two penalty tries because Fiji's defence was tough and patient.
"For the first one (penalty try) I don't think they would have scored.
"I think it was actually the Italians that were wheeling the scrum so they could get the penalty but we won't wheel the scrum five metres from our own goal line."
Italy coach Jacques Brunel said his side failed to keep their momentum from the first half in the second half of the match.
"We were leading at half time and the message to the boys was to keep the same attitude from the first half and the forwards performed really well in the first 40 minutes and we wanted them to do the same in the second half," he said through a translator.
"But we lost possession very easily and often and that; against a team like Fiji which can run the ball very fast is not a good thing.
"Three turnovers when we were so close to scoring cost us and resulted in a Fiji try so in the end, we lost."
McKee said they would enjoy and celebrate the victory this weekend but get back to work on Monday to prepare for their Pacific Nations Cup clash against Tonga next Saturday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.