Ryan Byrne/INPHO

As it happened: Ireland vs Fiji, Autumn internationals

We had minute-by-minute coverage as Joe Schmidt’s side continued their November series when they met Fiji at the Aviva Stadium.

Good afternoon and welcome to our liveblog for the second Autumn international of 2017, as Ireland welcome Fiji to Dublin hoping to add to their impressive demolition of South Africa this day last week.

Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s a reminder of the Ireland team in full. Head coach Joe Schmidt has retained just two players from the side which played seven days ago, opting for 13 changes.


15. Andrew Conway

14. Darren Sweetnam

13. Chris Farrell

12. Stuart McCloskey

11. Dave Kearney

10. Joey Carbery

9. Kieran Marmion

1. Jack McGrath

2. Rob Herring

3. Andrew Porter

4. Ultan Dillane

5. Devin Toner

6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)

7. Jordi Murphy

8. Jack Conan


16. James Tracy

17. Cian Healy

18. Tadhg Furlong

19. Kieran Treadwell

20. CJ Stander

21. Luke McGrath

22. Ian Keatley

23. Robbie Henshaw.

TEAM NEWS: And here’s how the visitors will line out, with John McKee naming a fresh Nemani Nadolo in his starting XV.

The Montpellier star missed Fiji’s opening November international against Italy last week but returns to action in front of a sell-out 51,000 capacity crowd at the Aviva Stadium.


15. Kini Murimurivalu

14. Timoci Nagusa

13. Jale Vatabua

12. Levani Botia

11. Nemani Nadolo

10. Ben Volavola

9. Henry Senioli

1. Campese Ma’afu

2. Talemaitoga Tuapati

3. Manasa Saulo

4. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa

5. Leone Nakarawa

6. Dominiko Waqaniboruto

7. Akapusi Qera

8. Nemani Nagusa


16. Sunia Koto

17. Peni Ravai

18. Kalivati Tawake

19. Sikeli Nabou

20. Peceli Yato / Semi Kunatani

21. Niko Matawalu

22. Asaeli Tikoirotuma

23. Vereniki Goneva.

It promises to be another fine evening of action in south Dublin.

A view of the Ireland dressing room ahead of the game Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

A view of merchandise on sale ahead of the game

Shay Rabbitt and Caelan Coleman


The Fijian team arrive Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The Irish players are running through their final warm-ups. Here they are pictured shortly after arriving at the Aviva Stadium inside the Irish dressing room.

Luke McGrath in the dressing room ahead of the game Luke McGrath Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Stuart McCloskey, Chris Farrell, Darren Sweetnam, Andrew Conway, Luke McGrath and Ian Keatley Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

CJ Stander in the dressing room ahead of the game CJ Stander. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

It’s an experimental side from Joe Schmidt this afternoon as just Devin Toner and Andrew Conway keep their place from that 38-3 win against a dismally poor South Africa side last week.

There are plenty of talking points ahead of kick-off. You can take your from our build-up to today’s action below:


Kick-off is just moments away. We pause for the national anthems as President Michael D. Higgins takes to the field.

KICK OFF: We’re up and running as Fiji get us underway with the smoke from the fireworks display slowly fading away.

2 mins — Some very good early play from the visitors sees Kini Murimurivalu almost break through with a quick twist. Just a few moments later Nadolo dashed through with ease but he forces an Irish scrum — the first of the afternoon.

5 mins — A lot of limelight will be on Joey Carbery this afternoon and the number 10 does well with a neat grubber kick.

7 mins — TRY! Ireland 5-0 Fiji

Darren Sweetnam gets his first try for Ireland, with Joey Carbery putting it on a plate with fantastic quick feet beating his man on the inside. Fiji’s defensive structure just fell apart there, however Carbery failed to knock over the conversion. A strong start for the hosts.

10 mins — It’s a good counter by Fiji however a sloppy knock-on sees Ireland earn another scrum.

13 mins — Fiji having a lot of issues in the breakdown as Dave Kearney does well to take Timoci Nagusa down inside the 22, as Ireland earn the game’s first line-out.

15 mins — Ireland going through a lot of phases but it’s good commitment from Fiji to drive the ball out and force a turnover — they are regaining that sense of structure which was lacking when Carbery raced through with ease to set up Sweetnam.

That’s what it means: Darren Sweetnam celebrates his try with Joey Carbery and Andrew Conway.

Darren Sweetnam celebrates his try with Joey Carbery and Andrew Conway Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

17 mins — A great interception from Jack McGrath, however he cannot find Rhys Ruddock with the offload.

17 mins — Penalty. Ireland 5-3 Fiji

Fiji have found a way back into this game following a mistake from Kieran Marmion. Ben Volavola  kicks the resulting penalty between the posts and despite a promising start from Ireland there are just two points separating the sides now.

23 mins — TRY! Ireland 10-3 Fiji

Andrew Conway does brilliantly to release Dave Kearney on his right. He manages to slip under Nagusa who was simply caught in no-man’s land in the corner to get the try. But for the second time this afternoon Joey Carbery fails to convert the kick. Ireland edge a seven point lead.

28 mins — Ireland earn a scrum following another knock-on from Fiji. The hosts have now accumulated nine handling errors inside the opening half an hour.

31 mins — Well, it looked like Dave Kearney had his second try this afternoon, however the referee quickly called a TMO only to spot a knock-on from Andrew Conway after he contested a cross-field kick from Joey Carbery.

It was clinical punishment from Ireland following more sloppy handling from Fiji inside their own half, but the try does not stand.

34 mins — TRY! Ireland 17-3 Fiji

Jack Conan accelerates with brilliant determination to get to the line and he delivers magnificently to record Ireland’s third try. Joey Carbery had missed his opening two kicks, however he knocks the conversion between the posts and Ireland lead by 14 points. It’s very comfortable now.

Dave Kearney pictured scoring Ireland’s second try despite the best efforts of Timoci Nagusa.

Dave Kearney scores a try despite the efforts of Timoci Nagusa Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

38 mins — Levani Botia refuses to release the ball and it’s a penalty to Ireland which Carbery kicks into touch, as Ireland go in search of one last chance before the interval.

40mins — TRY! Ireland 17-10 Fiji

It’s a stunning piece of play from Fiji to add a layer of intrigue heading into the break. Henry Seniloli does well to take an off-load as Ireland lose concentration. The conversion is kicked over and Ireland’s lead is reduced to seven points.


SECOND HALF: We’re back underway at Landsdowne Road as Joey Carbery gets us back into action.

42 mins — A good kick from Carbery sees Ireland earn the line-out. He saw the space open up along the righthand side and pinged it into touch following a good spell of recycling from Ireland.

45 mins — TRY! Ireland 17-17 Fiji

Oh goodness. Nagusa breaks away following a loose ball from Dave Kearney and scores Fiji’s second try with a punishing run — a try either side of the break for his side. The conversion is knocked over by Ben Volavola and, incredibly, we’re all square.

48 mins — Niko Matawalu replaces Henry Seniloli for Fiji.

Pictured: Henry Seniloli scores for Fiji.

Henry Seniloli scores a try Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

52 mins — That direct running style from the visitors which head coach John McKee warned of this week has really disrupted Ireland in this second half — Joe Schmidt’s side don’t look settled whatsoever.

55 mins — Beautiful, quick passing play from Fiji at speed almost sees them take the lead. It’s a great, important hit from Andrew Conway to stop Nagusa right in his tracks and force a turnover.

56 mins — A number of changes for Ireland as Joe Schmidt introduces a brand new front line: Cian Healy, James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong all coming on with just under 25 minutes remaining.

59 mins — Ireland concede a penalty within 10 metres of the Fiji line following a superb individual driving run from Cian Healy. His offload was poor, however, and the move broke down just at the last.

Chris Farrell tackled by Dominiko Waqaniburotu Chris Farrell tackled by Dominiko Waqaniburotu. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Darren Sweetnam and Jale Vatubua Darren Sweetnam and Jale Vatubua. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Jack Conan celebrates scoring their third try Jack Conan celebrates scoring Ireland's third try. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

61 mins — Ireland concede a third penalty inside the opposition 22 in this second half alone. Frustration is beginning to build just a little bit as Joe Schmidt prepares to make another change.

62 — CJ Stander replaces Rhys Ruddock for Ireland with 18 minutes to go.

64 mins — Some bad news for Ireland as Joey Carbery goes off holding his wrist following a challenge with Peni Ravai. He is replaced by Ian Keatley.

65 mins — Another switch for Ireland as Robbie Henshaw replaces Chris Farrell.

67 mins — Penalty. Ireland 20-17 Fiji

Ireland regain the lead as Munster fly-half Ian Keatley makes an immediate impact straight off the bench converting a crucial penalty.

69 mins — Penalty. Ireland 20-20 Fiji

And having said that, we are back level again straight away. It’s a clean strike which creeps inside the post from Volavola after Jordi Murphy was penalised after going offside.

72 mins — Penalty. Ireland 23-20 Fiji

It’s a penalty for Ireland following a pretty dire tackle from Kini Murimurivalu which very easily could have seen him sent off. Ian Keatley keeps his composure for the second time in the space of five minutes and knocks it between the posts to give Ireland a three point lead with less than eight minutes remaining.

76 mins — A moment of comic relief there as Cian Healy seemed to beat the entire Fiji defence all of his own, only to realise the referee had blown his whistle a good 10 seconds beforehand. The try won’t stand.


That’s a wrap for this evening. Fiji showed a lot of guts, causing one or two problems for Joe Schmidt’s side either side of the break after he made 13 changes on last week’s win against South Africa.

An experimental starting XV and a lot of lessons learned ahead of next week’s Test against Argentina, as two Ian Keatley penalties in the second half got Ireland over the line following a resurgent display from the visitors.

Thanks a million for joining us, bye!

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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