Ireland 23-20 Fiji: Joe Schmidt's side survive scare in Dublin
Last Updated: 19/11/17 12:22pm
A single Ian Keatley penalty was all that separated the sides as Ireland recorded a 23-20 win over Fiji in Dublin.
Ireland were made to work hard for their win, despite taking a 17-3 lead thanks to tries from Darren Sweetnam, Dave Kearney and Jack Conan.
Fiji then fought back, with Henry Seniloli scoring shortly before half-time after a storming run from Nemani Nadolo, and Timoci Nagusa crossing for an intercept try five minutes after the break to level the scores.
Thereafter it was down to the kickers, with replacement fly-half Keatley outscoring Ben Volavola by two penalties to one, the Irishman's second going over with eight minutes remaining.
Fly-half Joey Carbery, making only his second Test start, had a hand in Ireland's opening try as he showed quick feet to dance through the Fiji defence and set up Sweetnam to score.
After Kearney had crossed over in the corner and Conan cantered in for a third try, the home side led 17-3 and looked out of sight of the islanders.
But just before half-time, the visitors turned on their Sevens skills as Nadolo produced a brilliant kick-and-collect before setting up Seniloli for the converted try. Five minutes after the break the scores were level when Nagusa intercepted an attempted pass from Kearney and raced clear to score under the posts.
Fiji botched two chances to score next - their handling letting them down close to the Ireland line, before substitute fly-half Ian Keatley kicked what proved the winning penalty eight minutes from the end.
Fiji have completed their fixtures for the year, while Ireland are at home to Argentina in their final game of 2017 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Ireland looked to be easing to a comfortable 14-point lead at half-time, but Fiji hit back with seconds remaining in the first half.
Brilliant play from Nadolo down the left wing saw him drop the ball onto his foot and regather at great pace past Sweetnam and Conway, before handing on to Seniloli who dived over between the sticks.
The try was converted and Fiji squared the game just after the break, but this
Moment of the match
Kearney's try came off the back of a superb move from Ireland. The forwards did some brilliant carrying before McCloskey released Conway, whose footwork and pace was too much for Fiji. From there, Conway gifted Kearney an easy score in the left corner.
Tweet of the match
Fiji Head Coach, John McKee says the narrow loss to Ireland was an opportunity missed but they are heading in the right direction.
"We were lucky to get away with the win there," Stuart McCloskey told Sky Sports.
"Right now he (Ireland boss Schmidt) will be happy we've got the win. He'll be looking back at a lot of mistakes and lot of turnovers.
Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa was frustrated after the slender defeat.
"Today it was a disappointing game for us," the 29-year-old said.
"We didn't play to our strengths. We didn't play to our system and that's a result that's disappointing today."