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Fiji 30-14 Ireland

Fiji (12) 30
Tries: Naiqama, Uate 2, Bukuya, Hayne Goals: Naiqama 5
Ireland (10) 14
Tries: Blanch 2, Grix Goals: Richards

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Highlights - Fiji 30-14 Ireland

Ireland's World Cup dream came to an end with a comprehensive defeat to Fiji in their semi-final qualifier.

The Irish were well in the game at half-time, trailing 12-10 after tries by Damien Blanch and Scott Grix.

But the Fijians were far too strong after the break when a sustained period of pressure put them in control.

They scored three more tries through Jason Bukuya, Jarryd Hayne and Akuila Uate, his second, to seal a semi-final meeting with Australia on Sunday.

Fiji got off to the perfect start after two minutes when Simon Finnigan charged down Aaron Groom's kick but Groom got possession back and captain Wes Naiqama ran wide to score and add the extras.

But Ireland's response was swift as some neat play across the line allowed winger Blanch to break down the right and cross for his fourth try of the tournament, converted by Pat Richards.

Full-back Michael Platt had to be alert to put in a try-saving tackle on Groom and Richards missed a chance to put Ireland ahead when he missed a penalty from 40 metres out.

But on the half-hour they found themselves behind when Fiji winger Uate ran from right to left across the Irish defensive line, a stylish left-foot step taking him through a gap to score, and Naiqama made it 12-6 with the kick.

Ireland gave themselves hope just before the break when they were gifted possession 20m out when Semi Tadulala failed to cope with Karl Fitzpatrick's kick and knocked on.


Ryan Tandy and Finnigan got Andy Kelly's side closer to the line, allowing captain Grix the chance to cross, but Richards hit the upright with the goal attempt to leave Ireland two points down at the break.

Fiji started the second half strongly when James Storer went over but the try was disallowed by the video referee.

But the weight of possession was well in Fiji's favour and they forced a number of back-to-back sets to put pressure on Ireland.

It was no surprise when they eventually forced their way over through loose forward Bukuya and Naiqama's goal made it 18-10.

A Naiqama penalty extended Fiji's lead to 10 points and Ireland were struggling to make an impact and get any useful possession as Fiji controlled matters.

Ireland started to look tired and after 65 minutes, Groom capitalised with a pin-point grubber kick which was touched down by Hayne.

Fiji controlled matters thereafter to make sure of the win, Uate scoring his second try five minutes from time.

But Ireland had the final say with Blanch scoring his second try of the game from Lee Doran's offload to bring the curtain down on a superb tournament for the Irish.

Fiji: Hayne, Tadulala, Naiqama, Millard, Uate, Noilea, Groom, Sadrau, Sukanaveita, Vonomateiratu, Sims, Koroi, Bukuya.
Replacements: Storer, Bradley-Qalilawa, Tora, Nauqe.

Ireland: Platt, Blanch, Gleeson, Littler, Richards, Grix, Finn, O'Carroll, Beswick, Haggerty, Harrison, Doran, Finnigan.
Replacements: McIlorum, Fitzpatrick, Corcoran, Tandy.

Referee: Ashley Klein

see also
Kelly looking to 2013 World Cup
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup success thrills Fijians
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Ireland v Fiji as it happened
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Ireland 34-16 Samoa
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Kelly proud of 'fantastic' Irish
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Tonga 22-20 Ireland
27 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Scotland 18-16 Fiji
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Fiji 42-6 France
01 Nov 08 |  Rugby League

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