Tommy Seymour grabs hat-trick of tries as Scotland pummel Fiji
Gregor Townsend’s side trailed in the first half before taking control after break
Tommy Seymour of Scotland celebrates with George Horne after scoring his third try during the autumn international against Fiji at Murrayfield. Photograph: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Scotland 54 Fiji 17
Scotland extended their impressive Murrayfield streak to 10 wins from their last 11 Tests as Tommy Seymour’s hat-trick helped seal a 54-17 win over Fiji.
Allan Dell, Fraser Brown, Sean Maitland, Jamie Ritchie and Adam Hastings also touched down as Gregor Townsend’s team responded to last week’s sloppy display against Wales with a sensational eight-try drubbing.
But Townsend’s team eventually grabbed control as they built up a head of steam ahead of next week’s clash with South Africa, which should prove to be an all-together more taxing encounter.
Scotland had their star factor back as fullback Stuart Hogg returned just seven weeks after undergoing ankle surgery to start.
Skipper Greig Laidlaw – who would go on to kick 10 points – and talisman Finn Russell were also back while Exeter’s former England under-20 international Sam Skinner came into the secondrow for his Scotland debut.
Townsend knew to his cost how dangerous the maverick Pacific Islanders could be after watching his side suffer defeat in Suva 17 months ago.
And there were early warning signs when Radradra’s lightning burst required a last-gasp intervention from Hogg to prevent the visitors adding to Ben Volavola’s second-minute penalty.
But Scotland got the breakthrough after 12 minutes when the forwards bludgeoned their way to the line, with Dell diving over.
The second came after 18 minutes but Peter Horne did not get the credit despite puncturing the Fijian defence. Caught in between going alone or slotting in Seymour, his indecision cost him as he was halted on the line.
Thankfully for the Glasgow centre, Seymour followed up smartly to recover possession before Brown muscled over the line.
However, the hooker was at fault as Fiji hit back five minutes later. Peceli Yato hoovered up the ball as Brown over-cooked a lineout throw before handing over to Mata to power under the posts.
And the visitors moved back in front after 28 minutes thanks to a moment of inspiration from Leone Nakarawa as he found a chink in the Scots defence. Ritchie’s attempt to steal the ball back only succeeded in sending Frank Lomani scampering clear before Tevita Cavubati popped off to Radradra to touchdown.
Scotland responded with a forwards onslaught. The pressure they exerted proved too much for the Fijians, who had both Cavubati and Nakarawa sent to the bin after hauling down mauls within sight of the line.
The hosts eventually let their backs loose in the final minute before the break and with a two-man advantage there were too many gaps for Fiji to plug as Russell whipped the ball wide for Seymour to score.
It took just two minutes after the restart for the lead to be stretched as Maitland ducked over after a swift blue surge.
Russell’s probing was forcing Fiji to scramble for cover. They just about stopped Horne as he raced through again but once more the Scots were quick to exploit the disorganisation his burst had caused, with Laidlaw throwing a clever reverse pass to tee up Seymour for his second after 58 minutes.
And the Glasgow wing wrapped up his treble three minutes later as another rapid exchange of passes saw the Scots work the ball from left to right before Seymour lunged over for his 19th try from 45 Tests.
Fiji managed to stem the flow of points until the final three minutes when Ritchie finished off another brutal assault from the forwards before Russell released Hastings to canter in for Scotland’s eighth.
SCOTLAND: S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne, S Maitland; F Russell, G Laidlaw; A Dell, F Brown, WP Nel; S Skinner, G Gilchrist; R Wilson, J Ritchie, M Fagerson.
Replacements: J Strauss for Fagerson (29 mins), C Harris for Dunbar (49), S McInally for Brown (52), A Allan for Dell, S Berghan for Nel (both 55), J Gray for Wilson, G Horne for Laidlaw (both 61), C Hastings for P Horne (71).
FIJI: S Tuicuvu; M Talebulamaijaina, S Radradra, J Vatubua, V Goneva; B Volavola, F Lomani; C Ma’afu, S Matavesi, M Saulo; T Cavubati, L Nakarawa; D Waqaniburotu, P Yato, V Mata.
Replacements: E Vasiteri for Tuicuvu (24 mins), K Tawake for Saulo (50), E Mawi for (58), M Dolokoto for Matavesi (60), H Seniloli for Lomani (61), A Veitokani for Talebulamaijaina, S Kunatani for Yato (both 63), A Tuisue for Cavubati (68). Sin bin: Cavubati (33), Nakarawa (39).