That’s it from me for tonight. Two quality games to kick off the long awaited tournament. They were both one-sided but showcased just how dangerous some of the heavy hitters will be over the next few weeks.Australia are favourites for a reason. They barely got out of third gear against Fiji and cantered to an easy win. Immense on defence and clinical, for the most part, in the red zone. A few kinks ti iron out, but they’ll surely get that sorted.I hope you enjoyed the coverage today. Til next time.
Here’s the Aussie coach, Mal Meninga:I’m happy with that. We got through it pretty well. Really happy with the defence. A few things to fix up with the ball, but overall, very happy.
The effort around our defence was spot on. All the things we asked of our players [they did really well].
We’ve got some competition in the team. We’ll rest a few guys next week and play some others who can put their foot forward.
We talked about how it would be clunky from our point of view. We’ve only been here for a week. We’ll improve as the tournament goes on.
I’m with the pundits on the Beeb. I thought Harry Grant should have been player of the match. He was so good off the bench. Every time he got his hands on it the Aussies looked like doing something.But you know what, credit to Munster. He was class as well. It could have been anyone, to be fair. If we’re honest, the real player of the match was the Kangaroos’ defence coach.
Here’s the player of the match, Cameron MunsterThere was a bit [of rustiness]. We should have scored a lot more points but didn’t execute. We go back to the drawing board and can hopefully be a bit better. But happy with the performance.
Fiji are a really good side. They have a lot of talent, a lot of heart. It didn’t surprise me that they scored first. Hopefully the go well in this tournament.
I’m very luck to be in the middle and have [all the very fast wingers and outside backs] who make me look good.
Clinical. Efficient. Ruthless. Australia were all those things. They were also rusty, which is why this dominant display didn’t have an even greater margin of victory. But they won’t care.Grant was great, pulling string and stabbing through kicks. Addo-Carr’s 80 solo try was a joy to watch and Tedesco showed his class.The real triumph was the Australian defence. Wave after wave of white Fijian attacks crashed on green rocks. Immovable. That’s the best word to use. The champions are up and running.Josh Addo-Carr scores his side’s second try. Photograph: Richard Sellers/AAP
53 mins: Better from Fiji. Wong involved in this charge up field. Naiqama as well. They get into Aussie territory and hoist a cross field kick. They can’t come away with the ball but that looks the most likely chance of them working the space.Australia get up the field and win a 40-20 from Grant with a raking kick. Excellent punt.
50 mins: Fijian ball deep in their own territory from a scrum in midfield. Ball goes right. Then left. Wherever it goes there’s at least two Aussies to close down the runner. Fiji going nowhere. Carrigan impressive on defence as well. Fiji have to kick. Addo-Carr takes it back up field. Holmes moves it pat the 50m line. Carrigan knocks on in the challenge.
42 mins: Australia get the ball but make an error on the ground. Wighton doesn’t play the ball correctly on the ground so it’s Fiji’s to use.Sadrugu takes it close to the red zone. Turuva, who had a quiet first half, gets on the ball. Koroisau pops it right for Wakeham who kicks through but it catches an Aussie knee and now the ball is with green.
It was a dream start for Fiji who scored a wonderful try with less than five minutes on the clock. But the Kangaroos are the footy kings for a reason. Once they gained their composure they drove it through the middle, kept their defence water tight and found half gaps as they emerged. Addo-Carr’s blistering 80m try was the standout, but it was more a case of ruthless efficiency that sees the reigning champions take a healthy lead to the break.I’m off to make a quick cuppa. See you in a few.