Nadolo bags hat-trick as Covid-hit Fiji hammer Georgia

The win came in Vern Cotter’s first match in charge of the Pacific Islanders.

Fiji's Nemani Nadolo scores his third try.
Fiji's Nemani Nadolo scores his third try.
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

Updated at 17.33

GIANT WINGER NEMANI Nadolo scored three tries as Fiji beat Georgia 38-24 at Murrayfield on Saturday to finish seventh in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Nadolo, 32, returned to international rugby after a two-year hiatus for what was the South Pacific Islanders’ first game since last year’s Rugby World Cup. The Fijians were forced to forfeit their three opening games in the Nations Cup, and a Test against Portugal in November, due to Covid-19 cases among the squad.

Levan Maisashvili’s Lelos were without Beka Gorgadze after the No 8 suffered a serious knee injury in last weekend’s loss to Ireland, a third defeat in as many fixtures after scoring just once during the newly-created tournament’s group stage.

Vern Cotter, in his maiden match in charge, named an exciting Fiji backline including new captain Semi Radradra and 32-year-old Nadolo, who had retired ahead of the World Cup.

In the wet and windy conditions in Edinburgh, Cotter’s men started superbly as Leicester Tigers’ Nadolo crossed 75 seconds into the encounter after Ben Volavola’s kick-off was spilt.

Nadolo’s side led 19-10 at the break as debutant Johnny Dyer and winger Josua Tuisova crossed in a rampant opening quarter.

Replacement prop Giorgi Melikidze responded with a try and Tedo Abzhandadze added a penalty and a conversion to respond as Georgia controlled possession late on.

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Conditions improved in the second half as the rain stopped and Tuisova turned the provider a quarter of an hour after the interval.

The Lyon winger charged through four defenders before a one-handed off-load to flanker Mesulame Kunavula on his international debut.

The game was over as a contest 10 minutes later as Nadolo claimed his second and third efforts to join Vereniki Goneva on his country’s all-time try-scoring list in a resounding display in the final 40 minutes.

Georgia flanker Beka Saginadze, who plays his club rugby for French second division club Aurillac, muscled his way over to claim two consolation efforts in the closing quarter of an hour for the side ranked 12th in the world.

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