Nov 18 (Reuters) - Wing Darren Sweetnam scored his first international try as a second-string Ireland survived a massive scare with a narrow 23-20 victory over Fiji in Dublin on Saturday.
Number eight Jack Conan and wing Dave Kearney also scored tries for the hosts, who had made 13 changes from the side that thrashed South Africa 38-3 the week before.
Fiji showed guts on defence and their usual confidence in attack as they managed tries through scrumhalf Henry Seniloli and wing Timoci Nagusa, with flyhalf Ben Volavola adding two conversions and two penalties.
Flyhalf Joey Carbery, making only his second test start, had a hand in Ireland’s opening try as he showed quick feet to dance through the Fiji defence and set up Sweetnam to score.
After Kearney had crossed over in the corner and Conan cantered in for a third try, the home side led 17-3 and looked out of sight of the islanders.
But just before half-time, the visitors turned on their Sevens skills as Nemani Nadolo produced a brilliant kick-and-collect before setting up Seniloli for the converted try. Five minutes after the break the scores were level when Nagusa intercepted an attempted pass from Kearney and raced clear to score under the posts.
Fiji botched two chances to score next as their handling let them down close to the Ireland line, before substitute flyhalf Ian Keatley kicked what proved the winning penalty eight minutes from the end.
Fiji have completed their fixtures for the year, while Ireland are at home to Argentina in their final game of 2017 on Saturday. (Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)