Photos: Zoomfiji / Getty Images

Fiji kick-started their Pacific Nations Cup campaign with a confident bonus-point victory over Canada in Suva.

The defending champions – who suffered a first PNC defeat since 2015 in Japan in round one – were less than a converted try ahead at half-time but kept their visitors scoreless after the break to secure all five points.

It was Canada who opened the scoring at the ANZ Stadium as fly-half Shane O’Leary converted a fifth-minute penalty.

Fiji soon flexed their muscles, however, as Semi Radradra and Kini Murimurivalu worked an overlap on the left wing that allowed Viliame Mata to score in the corner.

O’Leary restored Canada’s lead with his second penalty, but the hosts took control of the contest before the half-hour mark with two tries. The first came via the quick thinking of Peceli Yato, who pounced as the ball spilt out of a Canadian five-metre scrum, while his captain Leone Nakarawa powered over for the second.

Canada trailed 19-6 but had enjoyed periods of possession, and narrowed the deficit before the break as Kainoa Lloyd punished an errant Fijian offload to score in the left corner. O’Leary’s touchline conversion struck an upright before bouncing over but that was as close as Canada would get.

The hosts made sure of their bonus point early in the second half as prop Peni Ravai powered over with the help of Yato and Eroni Sau. And victory was rubber-stamped in the 50th-minute when Josua Tuisova sped down the right wing to score a fine try, having been played into space by Josh Matavesi and Radradra.

Replacement hooker Mesu Dolokoto put the seal on victory with less than 13 minutes remaining, and although Canada ended the match camped inside the Fijian 22 they were unable to breach the try-line for a second time.

Fiji captain Leone Nakarawa said: “I think the boys played really well today, good effort but still areas to work on. First of all [we need to] work on the basics, get the basics right. We know playing with our Pacific brothers [Samoa, next Saturday] it will be physical.”

Canada coach Kingsley Jones said: “We got field position but we didn’t take advantage of that field position. We’ve got to keep improving, I think that was a big improvement on last week.”