Relive 1 NEWS’ live updates of tonight’s Test between the All Blacks and Fiji at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
David Havili celebrates scoring his second try against Fiji in Dunedin.
What a brilliant game of Test rugby! Fiji were incredible tonight given what they have been through. They’ve barely played together in two years, they’ve been stuck in isolation until just a few days ago, and their minds have been caught up in the coronavirus wave sweeping through their nation. But on the park, they brought everything and pushed the All Blacks for the best part of 60 minutes. The final quarter saw the All Blacks pull away, but the final scoreline doesn’t reflect the action on the park tonight. All of Fiji should be proud of that performance and they have plenty of positives to take into the next Test in Hamilton.
Fiji have one last dart at the line to finish the game on a high note, but eventually fall short, with Whitelock running out of danger with the ball. That will do it!
NZL TRY!! Ioane breaks away through the midfield at rapid speed, finding Blues teammate Christie on his inside. Jacobson gets the ball and is brought down, with the ball ripped out of the breakdown by Fiji but goes trickling towards the line, where none other than Dane Coles picks it up and puts it down!! Four for the hooker! Barrett converts.
NZL TRY!! Another penalty for the All Blacks following a brilliant counter-attack through Jordan. Barrett kicks for touch, the All Blacks drive the maul towards the line and guess who? It’s Dane Coles with a hat-trick!! Barrett nails this one.
NZL TRY!! Once again in the danger zone, Blackadder makes an incision through the middle but falls short of the line. Christie quickly gives it to Barrett, who flings it wide to Jordan who simply has to run it over. That may be enough for the All Blacks. Barrett misses the conversion.
Coles breaks through Fiji’s defence and offloads to Smith, but Fiji win another penalty in the breakdown! They have been world-class in that department tonight.
NZL TRY!! The All Blacks are in deep in Fiji territory again and Coles scores again! Once again off the back of the lineout, the All Blacks maul powers towards the line and it’s simply unstoppable. Barrett knocks this one over.
FIJ PEN TRY!! Fiji push another strong maul towards the line after the back of the lineout and the All Blacks are penalised again – it’s a penalty try! The All Blacks are also down to 14 now as Havili is sent to the bin! Game on!!
Fiji win back-to-back penalties and kick for the corner to give themselves another shot at the All Blacks defence.
NZL TRY!! The All Blacks score immediately off the resulting scrum, and it’s Coles who gets the try off the back of the scrum having only recently come on the field. Barrett misses another conversion.
FIJ YEL! The All Blacks go to a Fijian off their own in Sevu Reece who bursts through the defence in the middle of the park and charges into the 22m. The ball finds Blackadder on the right wing but he can’t quite get there. The play breaks down but the All Blacks win a penalty and Murimurivalu is binned for being off his feet.
FIJ TRY!! A bit of brilliance from the flying Fijians! Off the lineout Fiji go blindside to Matavesi, catching the All Blacks off guard. He races down the touchline and offloads inside to Kunavula who touches down in the corner! What a move! Volavola can’t convert from a tight angle.
NZL TRY!! Barrett knocks the ball on and the whistle is blown but Havili is hit late by Tuisue and the call is reversed to become an All Blacks penalty. Off the lineout the All Blacks move left from midfield, shifting the ball quickly before it falls to Bridge on the wing, who has nothing but open space ahead of him. Barrett’s conversion falls well short.
Volavola kicks off to get the second half started!
The All Blacks go into the break with a decent lead but Fiji have shown they will be anything but walkovers here tonight.
The visitors have been brilliant in the breakdown, in particular loose forward Johnny Dyer, who alone has won several turnovers. The All Blacks have been too slow to support the ball handler and it cost them in the first half.
You may have noticed the visitors are not sporting special jerseys as reported earlier in the week with a message for Fijians to get vaccinated.
Our reporter Jordan Oppert broke the news earlier this evening.
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Differing opinions on the jerseys within the team has seen them scrapped hours out from kickoff.
Source: 1 NEWS
The All Blacks pile on the pressure but are held back by the strong Fijian defence. The home side have one last scrum on the 5m line as the clock ticks down to halftime. Sotutu comes rampaging off the back but falls short. Fiji win the penalty! Great effort in defence again and that will do us for the first half.
FIJ TRY!! Some brilliant play from Fiji sees Sau blast through the defence and nearly all the way. A couple of pick-and-gos fall short but the Fijians win a penalty after Smith was deemed offside. They go for touch rather than the posts. Off the lineout, Tuisue pulls off the back of the maul and dives over. Well deserved for the visitors! Volavola hits the post on the conversion.
Beauden Barrett cops a nasty boot to the face and is taken off the field. Replaced by McKenzie.
NZL TRY!! Havili has two in three minutes!! The All Blacks win another penalty in midfield and kick for touch deep in Fiji territory. Off the resulting lineout, the ball finds Havili at first receiver and he just busts through the line to score under the posts. Another conversion for Barrett.
NZL TRY!! Around the front of the lineout, Taylor edges close to the line but is held up. Smith again opts to give it to the backline. Barrett shifts it quickly to Havili, who dummies and steps inside to beat two men and score next to the post! Great moment on return to the All Blacks for Havili. Barrett converts easily from out in front.
FIJ PEN! The All Blacks are penalised again, this time for not rolling away. It’s dead in front and Volavola doesn’t hesitate to point to the posts. It’s over again and the gap is reduced to one.
NZL TRY!! The All Blacks win a penalty and kick for touch. They form a strong maul off the back of the lineout but Smith chooses to give it to his backs just five metres out from the line. Quick hands across the face are just too quick for the Fijians to cover and Jordie Barrett runs through to touch down for the first try of the night! His brother converts.
FIJ PEN! Fiji win the penalty in the breakdown just outside the All Blacks 22m on the right wing. Volavola points to the posts and slots the penalty nicely right through the middle of the posts. Fiji take the lead!
Reece nearly pulls off an absurd try as he kicks Barrett’s cross-field ball on the full through to the line, but is just unable to catch up with it before it goes dead. Exciting start!
Barrett kicks off and we’re underway in Dunedin!
A lovely moment in the dressing room as the Fijians link arms and break into song before heading out to the pitch.
Both teams are welcomed onto the field by a karanga and big cheers go up for the visiting side, who return to the city for the first time in a decade.
The national anthems are sung before the Fijians lay down the opening challenge with their traditional Cibi.
The All Blacks respond, with Dane Coles again leading Ka Mate. Aaron Smith stands at the front of the challenge. What a special night for the veteran halfback in front of his adopted home crowd.
For the first time in a decade the All Blacks will take on the Flying Fijians, and what better place to host it than under the roof at Forsyth Barr in Dunedin.
It will be a special night for a pair of Highlanders too.
Aaron Smith will lead the All Blacks for the first time in his 98th Test, while Gore’s own 22-year-old Ethan De Groot is sure to bring some Southern mongrel onto the park as he suits up in black for the first time.
Fiji come into the game as true wildcards, having only played three Tests since the 2019 World Cup due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the All Blacks were wary of the threat they could pose.
“They’ve got big forwards, they’ve got some really fast backs, they’ve got some good, experienced leaders and their coach has talked about the fact that he’s excited about the squad so that’s a little warning sign for us,” All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree said.
Off the field, the Fijians have been left concerned about the second wave of coronavirus sweeping through the island nation.
The team had been set to wear jerseys carrying a message encouraging their compatriots to get vaccinated.
However, 1 NEWS can reveal those plans have been canned due to differing opinions in the squad regarding the message.
It is also understood the message was pushed by team sponsor Fiji Airways and players didn’t know until it was in the media.
As expected, the All Blacks are overwhelming favourites, paying $1.005 for victory on the TAB.