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Sunday, 24 November, 2002, 16:51 GMT
Scotland edge Fiji
Fiji's Atonia Nariva (left) passes with Scotland's Gordon Ross looking on
Scotland came through strongly in the closing stages
Scotland 36-22 Fiji

Orrell's Andy Craig claimed a hat-trick of tries to spare Scotland's blushes in an untidy encounter at Murrayfield.

The home side succeeded in securing an autumn Test clean sweep, but they never rose to the heights they achieved against South Africa last weekend.

The physical Fijians slugged it out with the Scots in an energy-sapping contest and Apinisa Naevo brought them within a point of the home side after scoring a 50th minute try.

And four minutes later Norman Ligairi touched the ball down over the Scottish line when Nikki Walker dropped the ball in defence.

But fortunately for the Scots the video referee deemed the ball had gone into touch.

Fiji looked urgent from the kick-off but it was scrappy stuff from both sides as they sounded each other out with a spate of kicks during the opening sparring session.

Fiji's Richard Nyholt is tackled by Scotland's Greame Beveridge
The match was scrappy, but passionate

Scotland were first to settle and broke the deadlock with a slick try in the ninth minute.

Laney did the initial damage with a half-break which caught the Fiji defence flat-footed.

It was taken on by wing Walker, who drew his marker before slipping a beautifully-weighted inside pass to centre Craig who touched down before Laney converted.

The Fijians repaired some of the damage immediately with a Narruhn penalty after Scotland sneaked offside.

The tourists then reduced the gap to a single point with another Narruhn strike when Bruce Douglas was guilty of slipping his binding.

But two quick Laney penalties restored the home team's advantage, before Craig bagged a superb second touchdown on the half-hour mark.

A third Narruhn penalty just before the interval kept the visitors in the hunt.

Fiji fight-back

Scotland were shocked at the start of the second half when the Fijians carved out a try to reduce the gap to three points.

Number eight Setareki Tawake pounced on a sloppy pass by Laney and hoofed it into the danger zone.

Lock Naevo raced up to get the benefit of the kind bounce and ploughed over from five metres.

There was another scare for the Scots two minutes later.

Fiji booted the ball the length of the pitch and, as it squirmed from the grip of last defender Walker, wing Ligairi followed up - before the video referee ruled he had grounded the ball on the sideline and not cleanly in the try zone.

There was more drama seconds later as Laney slotted another penalty to ease the jitters after Fiji were guilty of making an improper substitution.

Laney was back in the spotlight to slide in for Scotland's third try at the conclusion of a high-speed loop move also featuring Gregor Townsend.

Again, the video referee was consulted, but he ruled that Laney had not brushed the corner flag with his shoulder as Scotland led 28-17.

Craig and Stuart Grimes completed the scoring for Scotland late on.

Scotland: Hinshelwood, Walker, A. Craig, Laney, Paterson, Townsend, Redpath, T. Smith, G. Bulloch, Douglas, White, Grimes, Taylor, Pountney, Petrie.

Replacements: Scott, Hilton, Hines, Leslie, Beveridge, G. Ross, Moffat.

Fiji: Nariva, Lasagavibau, Ruivadra, Bai, Ligairi, Narruhn, Rauluni, Gadolo, Smith, Cavubati, Naevo, Raiwalui, Koyamaibole, Mocelutu, Naivaluwaqa.

Replacements: Biu, Rasila, Katalau, S. Leawere, Serevi, Satala, Mow.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

BBC Five Live's Andrew Cotter
"Scotland produced an error-strewn display"
Scotland captain Bryan Redpath
"We never seemed to get into any kind of rhythm"
 NOV 23-24 TESTS
 WALES 17-43 NZ
Links to more International stories are at the foot of the page.

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