Scotland 28-12 Fiji: Hosts kick on in second half to claim Autumn Nations Series victory at Murrayfield
Scotland score tries through George Turner, Adam Hastings, Duhan van der Merwe & Ben White as they come from 12-7 behind to win, returning to winning ways after defeat to Australia last week; Fiji score tries through Setareki Tuicuvu and Ratu Leone Rotuisolia but suffer three yellow cards
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 05/11/22 3:21pm
Scotland returned to winning ways at Murrayfield as a much-improved second-half display saw them pick up a 28-12 Autumn International victory over Fiji in Edinburgh.
A frantic first half saw Fiji have much of the better exchanges, scoring twice through wing Setareki Tuicuvu and lock Ratu Leone Rotuisolia on his Test debut - after he'd been sin-binned 80 seconds into the clash - but crucially failing to score a third with Stuart Hogg in the sin-bin.
Scotland hooker George Turner had scored the opening try of the clash, but indiscipline eventually saw Hogg yellow carded for repeated team infringements.
Scotland 28-12 Fiji - Score summary
Scotland - Tries: Turner (6), Hastings (39), Van der Merwe (49), White (74). Cons: Hastings (7, 40+1), Kinghorn (49, 75). Yellow cards: Hogg (23).
Fiji - Tries: Tuicuvu (13), Rotuisolia (22). Cons: Botitu (23). Yellow cards: Rotuisolia (2), Habosi (62), Natave (73).
Fiji failed to take advantage, however, with the hosts fortunate to go in ahead at half-time after a late Adam Hastings try.
Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe struck early in the second period to create some breathing room, and though they struggled to score again, they were far less troubled in the second period as Fiji picked up two further yellow cards, and replacement scrum-half Ben White ran in late on.
Scotland made six changes to the side that lost to Australia 16-15 last week, as full-back Stuart Hogg, out-half Adam Hastings, centres Chris Harris and Cameron Redpath, hooker George Turner and second row Richie Gray all came in - the latter making a first Test start since 2017.
For Fiji, former Scotland head coach Vern Cotter (2014-17) named three Test debutants, as lock Ratu Leone Rotuisolia started, while utility back Sireli Maqala - a 7s Olympic gold medallist - and loosehead prop Livai Natave began among the replacements. Toulon centre Waisea Nayacalevu captained the side.
Scotland began on the front foot, as Ali Price quick-tapped a penalty in midfield, and when Fiji Test debutant Ratu Leone Rotuisolia tackled the scrum-half almost immediately, and not 10 metres back, the second row was shown one of the earliest yellow cards in history, after just 80 seconds or so.
The hosts turned down the chance to kick at goal for a kick to the corner thereafter, but it proved the wrong call when the attack broke down and Fiji could exit without conceding.
A breakdown indiscretion from Fiji loosehead Eroni Mawi in his own half saw Scotland and Hastings kick to the corner again in the sixth minute, and this time they would make it count, as a powerful rolling maul saw Turner touch down - a suggestion Price joined ahead of the ball-carrier seemingly not checked by the TMO.
Hastings converted for the full seven-point haul, but Fiji should have hit back in their maiden attack of the Test, as an offside against Cameron Redpath handed wing Tuicuvu a simple penalty effort off the tee, but he hooked it terribly to miss wide.
Rotuisolia returned from his sin-binning after the next phase, as Scotland were again caught offside. Turning down a second shot at goal, Fiji then struck their opening try as Tuicuvu finished marvellously in the corner after a slick passing sequence across the pitch.
Tuicuvu's conversion was, again, a very poor strike wide, and though Fiji showed strong defence to thwart Scotland's next two attacks, the visitors frustratingly missed touch from hand when they next had a chance.
In the 23rd minute, Fiji did strike for their second try as superb carries from wing Vinaya Habosi, No 8 Viliame Mata and openside Levani Botia brought the away side up to the try-line, where Rotuisolia showed power to muscle over and continue his memorable debut.
A change of kicker saw out-half Vilimoni Botitu strike the conversion superbly, and such was Scotland's indiscipline in the lead-up to Rotuisolia's try - giving away a host of penalties - full-back Hogg was sin-binned after the score too in a double whammy.
Fiji should have notched a third try with Hogg off the pitch, but Habosi and centre Kalaveti Ravouvou were just stopped short before a slack pass saw possession lost.
A scrum penalty won against the head then handed Fiji a golden chance, with the kick to touch creating a five-metre attacking lineout. A Frank Lomani snipe was just stopped short, but a knock on three metres from the Scotland try-line next let the hosts off the hook.
Hogg returned with Scotland having just held Fiji out for his time off the pitch, and the visitors were made to pay for their profligacy vs a man less when Hastings sauntered through for a try in the final minute of the half, with his conversion putting Scotland two points ahead at 14-12.
A crunching Rotuisolia tackle on Hastings put Fiji in the Scotland 22 again early in the second half, but a forward pass stopped them in their tracks as Botia looked to score out wide.
Again the visitors were made to pay, as Scotland wing Van der Merwe finished powerfully out wide after the hosts turned down a potential kick at the posts in favour of an attack in the Fiji 22.
Fiji wing Habosi was very fortunate not to be shown a red card by referee Nic Berry for a forceful hit to the head of Scotland replacement prop Rory Sutherland past the hour mark - instead seeing yellow - before the Scots failed to score vs a man less in his time off the park.
Within minutes of Habosi's return, Redpath slid over to seemingly clinch victory for Scotland, but the score was ruled out for an earlier knock-on.
Fiji picked up a third yellow card of the day straight away, as replacement prop Livai Natave was penalised after referee Berry had placed the visitors on a team warning for persistent penalties at the scrum.
Off the next set-piece attack, White dashed in as the tiring Fiji defence was exposed and the result wrapped up.
Gregor Townsend's Scotland next host New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday, November 13, in a 2.15pm (GMT) kick-off for the third of their four Autumn Internationals this Test window, having previously lost to Australia 16-15 a fortnight ago - one week before the official Test window.
Scotland's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, October 29||Scotland 15-16 Australia||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 5||Scotland 28-12 Fiji||1pm|
|Sunday, November 13||Scotland vs New Zealand||2.15pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Scotland vs Argentina||3.15pm|
For Vern Cotter's Fiji, they next travel to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, November 12, in a 1pm (GMT) kick off.
Fiji's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, November 5||Scotland 28-12 Fiji||1pm|
|Saturday, November 12||Ireland vs Fiji||1pm|