The opening round of the RugbyPass FIFA Pros southern hemisphere charity tournament continued on Wednesday with a second successive double-header featuring Kurtley Beale, Angus Ta’avao, Shaun Stevenson and Jackson Garden-Bachop.
Tuesday’s matches saw Hurricanes flyer Wes Goosen and Crusaders starlet Will Jordan book their spots in the quarter-finals of the tournament, and the duo will be joined by Beale and Stevenson following two impressive displays of FIFA.
Matched up against Chiefs and All Blacks prop Ta’avao, Beale enjoyed a 2-0 victory over his former Waratahs teammate, with both players opting to play with French giants PSG.
A friendly exchange between the two managers resulted in little action of note for the majority of the first half, although an attack from either side towards the end of the half showed signs of promise going into the sheds.
Leading the stat sheet by 10 shots to one at the break, Beale managed to capitalise on his domination in the 57th minute when a mistimed tackle allowed star wing Kylian Mbappe to waltz into the opposition’s penalty area and send the ball into the top-right corner of the goal.
Despite a flurry of desperate attempts from Ta’avao as the clock wound down, the Wallabies veteran sealed the deal three minutes into injury time when Mbappe doubled his tally through a simple tap in following a Mauro Icardi-inspired counter-attack from inside his own half.
He’ll be joined in the final eight by Chiefs speedster Shaun Stevenson, who made light work of Hurricanes pivot Jackson Garden-Bachop in a dominant 3-0 win.
Playing with reigning European champions Liverpool, Stevenson got off to a rapid start when English midfielder Jordan Henderson took advantage of a defensive error from a Manchester City defender to score from close range in the fourth minute.
That lead could have been multiplied many times over given the number of scoring chances Stevenson generated throughout the first half, and the 23-year-old was eventually rewarded when Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino snatched a goal on the stroke of half-time from 12 yards out.
A third goal scored by Firmino from a flowing counter-attack move in the 63rd minute all but quashed Garden-Bachop’s hopes of progressing into the quarter-finals, as Stevenson and Beale await the results of the remaining fixtures this week.
The first round of action continues tomorrow when Highlanders and All Blacks star Aaron Smith takes on Blues and USA Eagles flanker Tony Lamborn in one of two fixtures.
The day’s other clash will see Chiefs midfielder Alex Nankivell challenge Ricoh Black Rams and former All Blacks loose forward Elliot Dixon.
RugbyPass FIFA Pros Southern Hemisphere Opening Round Draw
Aaron Smith (Highlanders) vs Tony Lamborn (Blues)
Alex Nankivell (Chiefs) vs Elliot Dixon (Ricoh Black Rams)
Bryn Hall (Crusaders) vs Pete Samu (Brumbies)
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) vs Josh Ioane (Highlanders)
Qualified for Quarter-Finals:
Wes Goosen (Hurricanes)
Will Jordan (Crusaders)
Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)
Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs)
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