Brave Fijiana falls, still chance for medal
July 31, 2021 4:55 pm
[Source: Getty Image]
An inspired and brave Fijiana side went down 22-17 to New Zealand in the semifinal.
The game head into extra time with scores locked 17-all at full time.
However, the Fijiana still has a chance to win a medal as they’ll feature in the bronze playoff at 8:30 tonight.
Some casual play by the Fijiana gifted New Zealand with an unconverted try in the first half.
Fiji playing with so much confidence got their act together and a break was made by Aloesi Nakoci who put Reapi Uluinasau into space.
Uluinasau was taken in a high tackle 20 meters short of the try-line but from the resulting penalty, Vasiti Solikoviti powered her way through for a converted try.
New Zealand would have been in front at the break but a determined Nakoco chased down Ruby Tui and managed to deny the Black Ferns a sure try.
Fiji started well in the second half and a monstrous tackle by captain Rusila Nagasau saw Ana Maria Naimasi pick up the loose ball and linked up with Solikoviti for her second try.
The Black Ferns looked to their speedster Portia Woodman for guidance and she did just that when she sprinted away for a second try with scores level 12-all and three minutes left to play.
The brave Fijiana nearly scored again through Nakoci but was denied.
New Zealand managed a try from a set-piece but Fijiana had another chance with a free-kick as the restart didn’t go 10 meters, Fiji ran through again with Uluinasau sprinting away after being put through by Naimasi.
Speaking exclusively to FBC Sports from Tokyo before the semifinal, Fijiana Coach Saiasi Fuli said his side has what it takes to beat any team in the world.
After taking out defending gold medal champions Australia in the quarter-final last night, Fuli says the team is heading into the match with high spirits against a much experienced Black Ferns side.
Coming into the Olympics the aim has always been to win a medal and Fuli believes they can do so.
The final will be played tonight while the bronze medal match kicks off at 8:30pm.