AURL Team Win Test Match vs Fiji Universities 40-26

The Australian Universities team defeated Fiji Universities 40-26 in the inaugural test match played between both countries at Prince Charles Park, Nadi on Friday 17 October 2014.

In a match that had plenty of end to end action, with no fewer than 13 tries scored, it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that the Aussies finally gained the upper hand.

It was a willing contest from the opening whistle and it took 12 minutes before the first points were posted when Aussie lock Tom Hancock sliced through some poor Fiji defence to score under the posts. An easy conversion by five eight Alex Bishop gave the Uniroos a 6-0 lead but 10 minutes later Fiji second rower Isimele Bosenauulagi cruised over for a simple three-pointer and the conversion by centre Tevita Soko leveled the score at 6 all.

A sweeping back line play put Aussie second rower Jono Miliszewski over in the corner 10 minutes from the break and it looked like the visitors would take a 10-6 lead at half time. But Fiji had different ideas when the Aussies were penalised for off side 30 metres from their line and elusive half back Aborosio Navori weaved his way over for a try. Soko failed to convert and once again the scores were level.

Then right on half time Bishop was able to convert a penalty for a Fijian indiscretion to give the Aussies a 12-10 lead at half time.

The Uniroos started the second half well and scored early when a solid run from centre Sol Foster sent Miliszewski over for his second try.
Minutes later a brilliant pass from dummy half from interchange back Tyson Tietie put winger Mitch Henderson over in the corner and the Aussies took a commanding 20-10 lead.

However, far from tucking their tails between their legs, the host team re-grouped and a quick restart from a 20 metre tap resulted in an 80 metre run with Navori scoring. From the re-start Fiji put up a high mid field bomb that five eight Yabaki Tabua regathered to score under the posts. A simple conversion by fullback Mosese Qionimacana saw the score leveled for the third time.

Just as it looked like the Fijians were about to dominate, Aussie hooker Herschel Gideon, whose darts from dummy half had been making plenty of metres, scooted across for a try.
Soon after hard-running front rower Stephen Coombe barged his way across the line and a Bishop conversion extended the Uniroos lead to 30-20.

From the ensuing kick off the Fijians stabbed a kick across the side line to give them the scrum feed and from the next play their second rower Jowasa Drodrolagi crashed over. With the try converted by Qionimacana and trailing 30-26 with 10 minutes remaining, it was still anyone’s match.

The never say die attitude of the Australians came to the fore and with 5 minutes on the clock, a break by Hancock put centre Tom Murray over for a try and right on full time a third try to Miliszewski, converted by Bishop gave the Aussies their 40-26 win.

Players’ Player: Jono Miliszewski

Man of the Match: Stephen Coombe

The AURL Team:

1. Zach Koitka

2. Mitch Henderson

3. Tom Murray

4. Solomone Foster

5. Michael Pearsall

6. Alex Bishop

7. Mitch Wilson

8. Cameron Copeland

9. Herschel Gideon

10. Stephen Coombe

11. Rhet Webster

19. Jono Miliszewski

12. Tom Hancock

14. Jayden Best

16. Chris Williamson

17. Tyson Tietie

18. Sean McKenzie

Coach: Mark Gliddon

AURL 40 (Jono Miliszewski 3, Tom Hancock, Mitch Henderson, Hershel Gideon, Stephen Coombe, Tom Murray tries, Alex Bishop 4 goals) bt Fiji Universities 26 (Aborosio Navori 2, Isimele Bosenauulagi, Yabaki Tabua, Jowasa Drodrolagi tries, Mosese Qionimacana 2, Tevita Soko goals)

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