In a turnaround performance from last week, the Fijiana XV redeemed themselves with a convincing 24-15 victory over Japan at Churchill Park last night.

The win is also their first ever against Japan in history.

The Fijiana squad exhibited a stark improvement in their performance, showcasing a more clinical and also matching the Sakura XV.

From the onset, Fiji displayed their intent with a strong start, capitalizing on their opportunities early on.

A well-executed set piece move off a scrum deep in Japan’s territory saw winger Repeka Tove cross the try line, setting the tone for Fiji.

The Fijiana XV continued to press forward relentlessly, further extending their lead when winger Merewairita Naivosa dotted down twice.

Naivosa’s tries highlighted Fiji’s dominance in both execution and strategy, pushing the score to 12-0 in the first half.

However, Japan fought back, with captain Iroha Nagata leading from the front.

In the 21st minute, a determined driving maul from the Sakura XV resulted in Nagata barging over for their first points, narrowing the gap to 12-7 before halftime.

The second half saw both teams grappling to gain momentum, marked by occasional errors that disrupted their rhythm.

Japan managed to reduce Fiji’s lead with a penalty kick, keeping the game within reach at 17-10.

Yet, Fiji’s defence proved formidable, repeatedly stopping Japan’s attempts to level the score.

The Fijiana XV capitalised on turnovers to convert defence into attack, culminating in replacement hooker Unaisi Lalabalavu crashing over for a crucial try, pushing their lead to 24-10.

Despite Japan’s spirited efforts, including a late second try from Nagata, Fiji’s resilience and tactical discipline ultimately secured the win.

Fijiana XV coach Mosese Rauluni said he is happy with how the side started against Japan.

Rauluni commends his team’s strong start to the match, emphasising their ability to maintain pressure throughout their lead.

He said it was good to see the side keep the pressure on when they were leading.

Rauluni states that a standout element of the match was their robust defensive effort, which played a pivotal role in securing their victory.

Despite the achievement, Rauluni was resolute that the team must swiftly shift their focus to future challenges.

“We’ll just see how the girls come up after this game and it’s a pretty physical game. They had great defence on us too and lots of low chops so there’ll be a lot of good body hits.

So what we will do is we’ll have a week off, not a week off but a week out of camp and training in Nadi for the full week before we prepare for all the Wallaroos and that’s going to be another tough test.”

He said they will need to build on this win but also work on their weaknesses.