Maori fightback stuns Fiji

The New Zealand Maori beat Fiji 27-26 in Suva on Saturday after trailing 26-10 at the break.

The visitors completed the comeback with 10 minutes to go when replacement loose forward Elliot Dixon, the Man of the Match in last weekend's Vodacom Super Rugby final, scored his side's third try, with flyhalf Otere Black slotting the conversion.

Fiji looked to be heading for victory after scoring three first-half tries through fullback Kini Murimurivalu, winger Nemani Nadolo and No 8 Akapusi Qera.

Winger Rieko Ioane scored the Maori's only try of the first half, but a penalty from Marty McKenzie and a converted try by his brother Damian brought them right back into it at 26-20.

Dixon then powered over from close range, and the Maori were able to see out the rest of the game to extend their winning run to 19 matches.

Fiji – Tries: Kini Murimurivalu, Nemani Nadolo, Akapusi Qera. Conversion: Josh Matavesi. Penalties: Nadolo (3).
New Zealand Maori – Tries: Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie, Elliot Dixon. Conversions: Marty McKenzie (2), Otere Black. Penalties: McKenzie (2).

Fiji –15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Benito Masilevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Gabby Lovobalavu, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Josh Matavesi, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Subs: 16 Villiame Veikoso, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Isei Calati, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Masi Matadigo, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Napolioni Nalaga.

New Zealand Maori – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 Kurt Baker, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Mitchell Crosswell, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Jacob Skeen, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Jason Emery.

VIDEO: Highlights of Fiji vs NZ Maori

Photo: Photosport

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