Fiji edge PNG in razzle-dazzle thriller in Christchurch

Action from the Fiji Bati and PNG Kumuls match. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fiji have clinched a hard-fought 22-20 win in a seven-try thriller against Papua New Guinea in Christchurch on Saturday.

Both teams missed early try-scoring opportunities with errors close to the line, and Fiji were denied again when PNG halfback Watson Boas produced a try-saving hit to send Suliasi Vunivalu over the sideline just short of the right corner post.

Fiji opened the scoring after 22 minutes through Tui Kamikamica, with Papua New Guinea drawing level through Rhyse Martin, before both sides crossed for spectacular long-range efforts.

First Fiji restored their lead when Parramatta star Maika Sivo broke clear down the left flank and sent Brayden Wiliame over.

Papua New Guinea replied with a brilliant try of their own, winger Edene Gebbie scooping up a loose ball and making a break out wide before flicking a pass inside for Boas to score.

A penalty goal to Martin in the final minute of the half gave the Kumuls a 14-12 lead at the break.

Barnstorming back-rower Viliame Kikau opened the second half with a trademark try close to the line for Fiji, but the lead continued to change hands with Gebbie scoring a 70-metre solo effort for PNG and Ben Nakubuwai hitting back for Fiji in the 53rd minute.

The Kumuls threatened Fiji’s line repeatedly in the late stages, but the defence held firm with two points the difference in the end.


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