South Newcastle forward Matt Shipway scores Test try for USA against Fiji.

TRY TIME: South Newcastle back-rower Matt Shipway plunges over to score an outstanding solo try for the USA against Fiji in Townsville on Saturday night. Picture: AAP
TRY TIME: South Newcastle back-rower Matt Shipway plunges over to score an outstanding solo try for the USA against Fiji in Townsville on Saturday night. Picture: AAP

IT was the moment a Merewether tiler briefly upstaged rugby league superstar Jarryd Hayne.

Twenty minutes into the opening-round World Cup clash between Fiji and the United States in Townsville, Tomahawks back-rower Matt Shipway stamped his name on the tournament.

With a combination of footwork and strength, Shipway burst through the tackles of Api Korisau and Kevin Naiqama to score a try he will remember for the rest of his life.

It made little difference to the overall result, as Fiji’s class and experience prevailed in a 58-12 victory.

But at least the 32-year-old from South Newcastle, who played four games for the USA at the 2013 World Cup, emerged with a well-deserved career highlight.

Hayne, meanwhile, notched a milestone of his own when he scored his 13th World Cup try (nine for Australia, four for Fiji) to equal Bob Fulton’s all-time competition record.

Kevin Naiqama, Taane Milne and Suliasi Vunivalu each produced doubles among Fiji’s 11 tries, while Akuila Uate also found his way over the line.

Their win was soured by a broken wrist suffered by prop Kane Evans, which is likely to mean more game time for Knights forward Jacob Saifiti. 

HARD YARDS: New Zealand's Marty Taupau crashes into the Samoan defence.

HARD YARDS: New Zealand's Marty Taupau crashes into the Samoan defence.

Shipway and Saifiti were among a host of Novocastrians involved in the opening weekend of games.

WRAPPED UP: Lebanon's Robbie Farah is tackled against France. Picture: AP

WRAPPED UP: Lebanon's Robbie Farah is tackled against France. Picture: AP

Former Knights flyer Dane Gagai – who has signed a four-year deal with South Sydney – made an oustanding Test debut on Friday night, carrying the ball 190 metres in Australia’s 18-4 victory against England in Melbourne.

His former Newcastle teammate, hooker Danny Levi, was just as impressive in New Zealand’s 38-8 thrashing of Samoa in Auckland on Saturday.

The 21-year-old rookie made 88 metres in attack and 18 tackles after replacing starting hooker Thomas Leuluai.

Samoa’s line-up included incoming Newcastle prop Herman Ese’ese and ex-Knights centre Peter Mata’utia, who has signed with Leigh Centurions.

On Sunday, Knights under-20s playmaker Jack Johns – son of club legend Matthew – suffered a shoulder injury as Italy suffered a surprise 36-12 loss to Ireland in Cairns.

Newcastle Wests centre James Elias helped Lebanon to a hard-fought 29-18 win against France in Canberra.

Raymond Terrace junior Jarred Anderson, who last season played with the Roosters’ under-20s, avoided being part of the slaughter in Cairns when he was a standby player for the Scotland squad humbled by Tonga.