Ireland 35-17 Fiji: Hosts prove too strong for undisciplined visitors as Albert Tuisue red-carded in Dublin
Ireland score five tries past Fiji in Dublin through Nick Timoney (two), Rob Baloucoune, Mack Hansen and Cian Healy; Visitors score through Kalaveti Ravouvou and Simione Kuruvoli but pick up a red card to Albert Tuisue and two yellow cards to Manasa Saulo and Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
By Michael Cantillon at Aviva Stadium
Last Updated: 13/11/22 1:53pm
A below-par Ireland secured a second Test victory this autumn as they proved too strong for an undisciplined Fiji side which saw Albert Tuisue red carded, winning 35-17 at an unseasonably mild Aviva Stadium.
Gloucester back-row Tuisue was sent from the field of play early in the second half for a clear no-arms tackle to the head of Ireland's Joey Carbery, while Fiji tighthead Manasa Saulo and replacement lock Apisalome Ratuniyarawa were also sin-binned in Dublin either side of the dismissal.
Ireland 35-17 Fiji – Score summary
Ireland – Tries: Timoney (15, 21), Baloucoune (25), Hansen (61), Healy (74). Cons: Carbery (16, 22, 26), Crowley (62, 75).
Fiji – Tries: Ravouvou (4), Kuruvoli (65). Cons: Tela (5), Volavola (66). Pens: Tela (23). Yellow cards: Saulo (19), Ratuniyarawa (51). Red card: Tuisue (46).
Ulster duo Nick Timoney (two) and Rob Baloucoune, plus wing Mack Hansen and prop Cian Healy scored tries for Ireland, with Carbery adding three conversions, and debutant Jack Crowley two more.
Fiji scored a stunning early try through fleet-footed centre Kalaveti Ravouvou, and another through replacement scrum-half Simione Kuruvoli, while kickers Teti Tela and Ben Volavola added two conversions and a penalty, but the second half proved largely one-way traffic.
Despite their undoubted quality with ball in hand, Fiji followed three yellow cards in a 28-12 defeat to Scotland last week, with another flurry of cards in the Irish capital.
- New Zealand beat 14-player England in epic Rugby World Cup final
- Sensational Munster post historic win vs South Africa at Pairc Ui Chaoimh
Munster loosehead Jeremy Loughman came in to start for his Test debut as part of nine changes to the starting XV that beat SA. Robbie Henshaw (hamstring) returned from injury, while fellow centre Stuart McCloskey was passed fit. Joey Carbery started at out-half, with uncapped duo Cian Prendergast, Jack Crowley named on the bench. Jimmy O'Brien started at full-back. Tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong captained Ireland for the first time.
Fiji head coach Vern Cotter made nine changes to the squad which lost 28-12 to Scotland. Isoa Nasilasila (second row), Teti Tela (out-half) and Jiuta Wainiqolo (right wing) all came in to start, while Mesulame Dolokoto (hooker), Lee-Roy Atalifo (tighthead), John Dyer (back-row), Simione Kuruvoli (scrum-half), Ben Volavola (out-half), Adrea Cocagi (wing) were brought onto the bench. Full-back Kini Murimurivalu was ruled out injured.
It was Fiji who had the opening chance for points in the Test, when Saracens loosehead Eroni Mawi jackalled superbly less than 80 seconds in to win a breakdown penalty, but the ensuing kick was poorly missed wide off the tee by Tela.
The visitors didn't let that miss faze them in the slightest, however, as a wonderfully slick move down the left wing from their own half following Ireland's 22-dropout saw centre Ravouvou race in and leap over for the opening try in the fourth minute.
Ireland lost returning centre Robbie Henshaw to a recurrence of his hamstring injury in the same moment, but a costly kick out on the full by Fiji scrum-half Frank Lomani soon invited the hosts onto the attack.
A probing grubber kick forward from centre Stuart McCloskey almost created a chance for Hansen in the left-hand corner, but Ireland afforded Fiji a cheap exit when they were penalised for offside deep in the 22 following a lineout.
French referee Mathieu Raynal penalised Ireland again for offside to allow Fiji back into the home side's half, with pressure only lifted when replacement centre Garry Ringrose won a breakdown penalty by the 22 after Waisea Nayacalevu's forward offload on the counter had been missed.
On 15 minutes, Ireland finally woke from their early malaise as a series of powerful pick-and-go attacks saw openside Timoney barge his way over under the posts, with provincial teammate Kieran Treadwell offering support latched onto his shoulder.
Carbery's straightforward conversion levelled the Test, and not four minutes later, Ireland looked to hit the front when second row Treadwell powered over, only for TMO replays to show the ball had been held up after the score's initial awarding.
Fiji were shown a yellow card before play could restart, however, as prop Saulo was sin-binned after the visitors had conceded three penalties in a row in their 22 (two maul collapses, and offside).
Ireland kicked to the corner, from which another accurate Rob Herring delivery and rolling maul did the trick again as Timoney grounded following a steady drive.
A soft penalty against Treadwell for advancing in front of a clearance kick saw Fiji get more points on the board following the restart, however, as Tela chipped over to leave things 14-10 to the hosts.
In the 25th minute, Ireland had a third try through Ulsterman Baloucoune out wide, when they ruthlessly exploited a Levani Botia knock-on as Fiji looked to play out from their 22.
Flanker Timoney was to the fore again for the score with another strong carry, before full-back Jimmy O'Brien got within a metre with a darting run, and scrum-half Gibson-Park looped a pass out to the unmarked Baloucoune.
Carbery converted superbly for a 21-10 lead with Fiji still a player down, and though the enterprising visitors were next to look threatening in the Ireland 22, a trademark Tadhg Beirne breakdown penalty averted any danger.
A Hansen knock-on in attempting to take a fizzed Gibson-Park pass in the corner saw a big chance passed up for another try, but Fiji had no answer to Ireland's rolling maul, as two more penalties gave way to No 8 Jack Conan diving over in the corner on advantage, only for replays to show he was in touch.
A superb piece of Beirne counter-rucking saw Ireland attack down the left after crisp passing to Hansen in the final minute of the first half, but the latter's kick ahead, which looked destined to fall for Gibson-Park, bounced wrongly and the visitors survived.
The start of the second half saw both sides pass up promising situations through knock-ons, but just six minutes following the break, Tuisue was red carded for connecting brutally with the head of Carbery as the second man in a tackle, which left referee Raynal little option.
Carbery was forced to depart, as his Munster colleague Crowley came on for his Test debut, but hooker Herring's next lineout throw was ruled crooked.
Fiji were reduced to 13 men in the 51st minute when another dominant Ireland maul in the 22 saw replacement lock Ratuniyarawa sin-binned due to yet another collapsing.
A combination of poor play and avoidable penalties saw Ireland fail to take advantage vs 13 men, however, until the final minute of the sin-bin period saw quick-thinking from replacement scrum-half Craig Casey after a scrum drive against the head, releasing Hansen to slide in.
Crowley converted brilliantly from out wide as Ratuniyarawa returned, before Fiji struck for their second try through Kuruvoli after another lethally quick, offload-filled attack - wing Jiuta Wainiqolo particularly outstanding within it.
A vibrant Mexican Wave overtook the Aviva Stadium for the next while, before Ireland belatedly added a fifth try through replacement loosehead Healy from close range, with Beirne on his shoulder after several impactful carries from the pack.
It left Ireland to claim another victory, and though head coach Andy Farrell admitted to feeling "underwhelmed" post-match, particularly with his side's profligacy when placed in the 22, his squad remain in a good place after an 11th successive home win.
Farrell's Ireland next host Australia at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 19, in an 8pm (GMT) kick-off for the last of their three autumn internationals this Test window.
Ireland's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, November 5||Ireland 19-16 South Africa||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 12||Ireland 35-17 Fiji||1pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Ireland vs Australia||8pm|
For Vern Cotter's Fiji, they have now completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having suffered a 28-12 defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh last week, before losing in Dublin.
Fiji's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, November 5||Scotland 28-12 Fiji||1pm|
|Saturday, November 12||Ireland 35-17 Fiji||1pm|