Ioane stars as Australia A thrash Fiji - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ioane stars as Australia A thrash Fiji

By Jim Morton 29/06/2008 05:39:07 PM Comments (0)

Dynamic winger Digby Ioane has thrust himself into Wallabies contention with a starring performance as Australia A blitzed Fiji 50-13 at Ballymore.

Australian coach Robbie Deans was among the 5,000-strong Brisbane crowd that lapped up Ioane's tackle-shedding runs in the seven-try Pacific Nations Cup rout.

Deans was duly impressed by the Queensland flyer's efforts which came with Test incumbent Lote Tuqiri under an injury cloud for Saturday night's return clash against France.

Tuqiri suffered a jammed knee early in Saturday night's 34-13 Test victory in Sydney and won't know his availability status until Monday.

Ioane was quick to put his case for selection, starting Australia A's spree with a solo try after just 75 seconds.

The 22-year-old, who scored a try in his only Test last year, was a handful for the Fijians throughout while fellow winger and Wallabies squad-member Lachlan Turner didn't let himself down either by cashing in for two tries.

"Digby's going really well," Deans said after the match.

"He's got a huge amount of power and loves to get involved, is really willing and is adding to his skill set.

"With his enthusiasm he'll get there. He'll work harder to add to what he's got and I tell you when he does that look out!

"He's got the quality of speed and nothing daunts him."

Forward Hugh McMeniman shaded Ioane for man-of-the-match honours to suggest the Wallabies are well placed to cover for the loss of Ireland-bound Rocky Elsom after the Tri-Nations.

The injury-plagued McMeniman was in the thick of attack and defence and was a key lineout target as the home team skipped to a 31-3 half-time lead.

NSW five-eighth Daniel Halangahu called the shots impressively and also kicked seven from eight in a classy 15-point haul, while league convert Timana Tahu was solid but wasted one try with a poor last pass.

The emphatic victory kept the Phil Mooney-coached A-team's unbeaten record in tact and set up a virtual last-round final against the New Zealand Maori in Sydney on Sunday.

Ioane and McMeniman were both members of the Australian side embarrassed 50-0 by the Junior All Blacks in the corresponding match last year and are keen to avenge.

McMeniman said the Kiwis didn't miss the chance to rub it in with some lip.

"Especially in the scrums, their front-rowers were saying a lot and their flankers were having a real chop so hopefully we can turn that around next week," he said.

One of Fiji's brightest moments came midway through the first half when huge flanker Semiso Naevo smashed McMeniman in one of the biggest hits seen at Ballymore.

"I haven't been hit like that since I was a schoolboy when I was 94kg," the Queenslander said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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