Rugby clash

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu | Thursday, June 15, 2017
The Fiji vs Italy match is gaining momentum.

Fiji and Italy have played each other 10 times, four in Fiji, five times in Italy and once in Carisbrook, Dunedin, New Zealand during the 1987 RWC.

Fiji holds a proud record against Italy with a 100 per cent winning record at home, winning all four meetings.

Italy on the other hand has a 75 per cent winning record at home winning three times from four fixtures.

The overall winning record is evenly matched as both teams have won five times.

The team who wins on Saturday will lead the series by one win.

The first Test match between Fiji and Italy dates back to June 14, 1980 in Suva, which Fiji won 16-3. During the RWC match on May 31, 1987 Italy beat Fiji by 3 points (18-15).

On August 28, 1999 the Brad Johnstone-coached Flying Fijians beat Italy away from home 50-32.

In a tit for tat style a year later our boys beat Italy at Churchill Park by 43-9.

However, on November 10, 2001 Fiji received a hiding from Italy in conditions that favoured the hosts.

Our boys went down 66-10. The Italian forward pack destroyed our hopes of making a hat-trick against the Azzurri.

We then met on November 26, 2005 and Italy came out victorious 23-8 in a closely contested battle.

A year later at Churchill Park the tide turned in favour of the hosts as Fiji downed Italy 29-18.

The next time Italy and Fiji met in Italy in 2010 revenge was on the minds of the hosts as they beat Fiji 24-16.

Three years down and the two teams met in Italy on November 16, 2013 and the home side did not disappoint their patriotic fans as they played with pride to tame the Flying Fijians 37-31.

The last time the two teams met was at the stadium on June 7, 2014 and this time around Fiji made sure it maintained its 100 per cent winning record at home by defeating Italy 25-14.

With the number of experienced stars laced in the Flying Fijian squad, expectations are high at home for Fiji to maintain a clean sheet at home.

It would be good to start our RWC campaign with a victory against Italy.

However, let us not rest on our laurels and talk about history repeating itself for our visitors have come prepared to spoil Fiji's 100 per cent winning run at home. My best wishes to our Flying Fijians!

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