Scotland out of World Cup after spirited defeat to Fiji
Scotland bowed out of the Rugby League World Cup after falling to a 30-14 defeat to Fiji at Kingston Park.
Despite a spirited performance from the Bravehearts in front of 6,736 fans in Newcastle, five tries and five Brandon Wakeham conversions ensured Fiji secured back-to-back wins in Group B.
The result sees Scotland finish bottom of the pool with three defeats from their three games.
After a strong start, Fiji put the first points on the board four minutes in, a promising attack around the try-line seeing Taniela Sadrugu burst through the Scottish defence and plant the ball between the sticks.
The Bati added their second of the game after 13 minutes when Henry Raiwalui bamboozled Scotland with a fantastic double dummy before passing the ball to second-row Viliame Kikau, who grounded with plenty of space around him.
Scotland struggled to break forward and retain possession throughout the opening stages, but they scored their first try of the game when Lachlan Walmsley intercepted a loose pass from Fiji.
The winger then sprinted the entire length of the pitch down the right flank to score, but he was unable to add the extras, taking the score to 12-4.
Fiji scored the next points with their third try five minutes before the break. A group of bodies leapt up for a grubber kick, allowing Raiwalui to grab the ball and jog around to ground between the posts.
The Bravehearts instantly responded with 30 seconds left in the first half after pressing deep into Fiji territory and James Bell’s grubber kick sent in Ben Hellewell to score.
Scotland were reduced to 12 men early in the second half when Luke Bain was sinbinned for a high tackle and Fiji made use of their extra man five minutes in when winger Maika Sivo crossed in the left corner.
Bayley Liu then tried to replicate Walmsley’s earlier try but sprinted as far as the halfway point before being brought down.
Scotland continued to surge forward, eventually allowing Liu to finish what he had started and he touched down in the far right corner before Kyle Schneider added their first conversion of the game.
The Bati, though, continued to push for points, twice moving the ball out to the right, but winger Vuate Karawalevu was unable to ground.
With 13 minutes left, Walmsley and Kikau were both sinbinned before Fiji extended their lead when Korbin Sims crossed after a good spell of pressure on the Scottish try-line.
Scotland had a wave of attacks in the final 10 minutes but the Fiji defence held firm as they saw out the win.