CANBERRA // Australia extended their winning streak against Fiji to 56 years yesterday, beating the Pacific Island team 49-3 in the Wallabies' first Test of the year. Kurtley Beale, the full-back making his starting debut in a Test, opened the scoring for Australia in the 10th minute with a try and the Wallabies led 14-3 at half time. Beale added his second try of the game with less than two minutes left to complete the seven-try rout. Digby Ioane also scored twice while Quade Cooper scored one and had a hand in three others.
"It was a little bit scratchy early on, but the pleasing aspect of it was they didn't get across the line," said Rocky Elsom, the Australia captain. "We were able to turn it on straight after half time." Deacon Manu, the Fiji captain, said he felt his team had the edge on the Wallabies late in the first half, but fell short in the second. "We came over here early to adapt to the conditions, so no excuses today," Manu said.
The victory for Australia was dampened by a potentially serious right knee injury sustained by Ben Alexander, the prop. After a Fijian player fell on him during a tackle with 20 minutes remaining, he watched the rest of the game with crutches under his arms from the sidelines. Meanwhile, two Fijian players - Taniela Rawaqa, the full-back, and Saula Radidi, the centre - will face Denis Wheelahan, the judicial officer on dangerous tackle charges. Rawaqa was cited for an alleged dangerous tackle/shoulder charge in the 23rd minute while Radidi was also cited for an alleged dangerous tackle in the 39th minute.
Australia play the first of two Tests with England on Saturday in Perth. Fiji play Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup, also on Saturday. * AP