Manu full of praise for Fiji
September 10, 2011
Fiji recorded a bonus point win in their opening clash of the World Cup © Getty Images
Fiji captain Deacon Manu praised his side in the aftermath of their win over Namibia on Saturday but is under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead.
The Fijians accounted for their Pool D opponents 49-25 at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday as wing Vereniki Goneva weighed in with four tries, but now the focus shifts to South Africa. "I felt there was a lot of composure, and we focused on everything we could control," said Manu.
Fiji allowed Namibia to get within two scores midway through the second half and Manu said any such lapses must be avoided before the match against the Springboks on Saturday 17 September. "We'll go into the match against the world champs so we have to lift our intensity for the full 80 minutes and capitalise on our opportunities for tries," Manu said.
Goneva's hat-trick and a try to second row Leone Nakarawa, who was rewarded for his support play, left Fiji with a commanding 32-15 lead at the break. Namibia's Danie Dames came close to scoring before being clattered into touch by the defence, while Danie van Wyk's effort was ruled out by the Television Match Official.
Fly half Theuns Kotze did his best to keep his side in touch with three drop goals and two penalties. Namibia then seized the initiative after the interval when second row Heinz Koll sold an audacious dummy to sprint in after determined build-up work from Conrad Marais and Piet van Zyl.
Soon, though, Goneva was again on the scoresheet, profiting from strong running by centre Gaby Lovobalavu to notch his fourth try - Fiji's fifth. Namibia refused to be overwhelmed by Fiji's confident running game and the Welwitschias' full back Chrysander Botha finished strongly to bring Namibia back to 39-25.
However, Fiji recovered their composure and a 75th-minute penalty from centre Seremaia Bai steadied their nerves before Naipolioni Nalaga crossed for his side's sixth try. Bai found his range early to finish with 19 points (five conversions and three penalties), missing only one conversion attempt from his nine kicks. Fiji maintained their victorious record against Namibia, having won the only previous match between the sides, at Rugby World Cup 1999.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton