PNG Kumuls spoil Fiji's party with Test ambush
FIJI was a shadow of the side that defeated New Zealand just seven months ago to book a spot in the World Cup semi-finals, going down to Papua New Guinea yesterday in an NRL Pacific Test.
The Fijians' first outings since losing to Australia for a place in the World Cup final was a near disaster with the 10th ranked PNG springing an upset to win 26-14.
Fiji's Aku Uate limped from the field just before half-time with a high ankle sprain following a collision with teammate Jarryd Hayne.
The injury is another blow for Uate's Manly side, which is already decimated by a host of serious injuries.
Even if Uate had played on, the damage had been done by a gallant PNG side with only had a sprinkling of NRL talent.
James Segeyaro, Luke Page and Melbourne's Justin Olam - who limped off midway through the second half with a knee injury - starred to defeat a Fiji side that had Hayne, Suli Vunivalu, Kevin Naiqama, Marcelo Montoya and Tyrone Phillips.
It capped an unhappy first outing for interim Fiji coach Matt Adamson.
The Kumuls raced to a 26-4 half-time lead on the back of 84 per cent completion.
They withstood a barrage of attack from the Fijiians, who easily started the better of the two sides.
Winger Junior Rau scored twice in the first half, including the match opener from PNG's first set inside Fiji's 20m.
Fiji had dominated with 61 per cent of possession to that point.
The Kumuls led by 14 after 29 minutes before Tyrone Phillips scored Fiji's only first-half try.
But two tries in the final three minutes of the opening half gave PNG an unassailable lead.
Fiji scored first in the second half through Montoya but despite PNG being unable to score a second-half point its lead was never troubled.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 26 (J Rau 2 J Olam L Page tries R Martin 5 goals) bt FIJI 14 (M Montoya T Phillips S Vunivalu tries S Moceidreke goal) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin.