Fiji Captain Kevin Naiqama and 2018 Wests Tigers recruit Taane Milne each scored two tries as the Bati opened their 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign with a resounding 58-12 win over the United States in Townsville.
Fiji's backline had a happy night, with Kevin Naiquama, Suliasi Vunivalu and Taane Milne all scoring doubles, while Jarryd Hayne equaled the Rugby League World Cup all-time try-scoring record — his 46th minute try took the five-eighth's try scoring tally in three World Cups with Fiji and Australia to 13, equalling the record held by the legendary Bob Fulton since 1975.
Hayne’s 13 tries include nine for Australia and four for Fiji.
It was the expected result and even the bravest of efforts from the USA couldn't stop the talent on show in the Fiji side. The only major injury was to Fiji's Kane Evans, who left the field with a suspected broken wrist while scoring a try during the first half.
Beginning the match with four tries inside the opening 15 minutes — including efforts to Naiqama and Milne — Mick Potter's side continued their attacking prowess to take a 38-6 lead in to the half-time sheds, which they would add to in the second half with the game won.
Currently top of Group D, Fiji will look to continue their strong start when they take on Wales in a cross-group match in Townsville again on November 5.
Fiji 58 (Milne 2, Naiqama 2, Vunivalu 2, Uate, Evans, Hayne, Kikau, Raiwalui tries; Koroisau 5/8, Milne 2/3 goals) def. United States 12 (Shipway, Vaivai tries; Faraimo 2/2 goals)
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 50 DEF. WALES 6
Papua New Guinea have opened their 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign in style with a crushing 50-6 victory over Wales in Port Moresby on Saturday.
It was a dominant performance from the Kumuls who took advantage of humid conditions on home turf to pile on 10 tries in front of a sell-out crowd.
Papua New Guinea (Mead 3, Martin 2, Aiton, Olam, Albert, Ottio, Macdonald tries; Martin 5/8, Boas 0/2 goals) def. Wales 6 (Grace tries; Davies 1/1 goals)
NEW ZEALAND 38 DEF. SAMOA 8
New Zealand scorched Samoa in the second half to run out 38-8 winners in their opening Rugby League World Cup match in Auckland on Saturday night.
After holding a narrow 10-4 advantage at the end of a first half where they completed just half of their sets, the Kiwis scored five tries in the second period to clock a convincing result in the first game of Pool B.
While the final scoreline was flattering for coach David Kidwell's side, the journey to it was at times anything but, as they coughed 17 errors and struggled to execute their offload-heavy plan.
Samoa will lament a second half where they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with errors coming out of yardage, while they appeared to struggle with the pace of the game when the Kiwis found second gear after the break.
New Zealand 38 (Asofa-Solomona, Tuivasa-Sheck, Liu, Nikorima, Takairangi, Johnson, Rapana tries; Johnson 5/7 goals) def. Samoa 8 (Maumalo, Paulo tries; Mata'utia (0/2 goals)
AUSTRALIA 18 DEF. ENGLAND 4
Australia have overcome a gallant England side 18-4 in a tight opening World Cup clash in Melbourne on Friday night despite losing forward Jake Trbojevic (pec) for the tournament.
The Kangaroos scored three tries to one but England showed they were more than capable of matching their old foe, with the game sitting at 10-4 for much of the contest.
While the result didn't go England's way their bigger concern will be the fitness of star forward Sam Burgess, who was sidelined in the first half with a knee injury and will miss 3-4 weeks.
Australia 18 (Gillett, Slater, Dugan tries; Smith 3/4 goals) def. England 4 (McGillvray tries; Widdop 0/1 goals)
REMAINING ROUND 1 MATCHES
October 29 — Ireland vs. Italy — 3:00pm AEDT at Barlow Park, Cairns
October 29 — France vs. Lebanon — 4:00pm AEDT at GIO Stadium, Canberra
October 29 — Scotland vs. Tonga — 5:15pm AEDT at Barlow Park, Cairns