Tue, 12 Dec 2023

Fiji recovererd their poise and verve in the second-half to beat an obstinate Georgia side on Saturday and take a step closer to qualifying for the quarter-finals at the rugby union World Cup for the first time since 2007.

After a narrow defeat to Wales and a victory over Australia, Fiji were the hot favourites for the Group C match in Bordeaux.

But before the clash at the Matmut Atlantique, Fiji boss Simon Raiwalui warned his charges of Georgia's physicality.

And during the first-half it appeared that his players had not heeded his counsel. They were sloppy and clueless in possession and gave away penalties.

Luka Matkava knocked over the the first penalty for Georgia and then Davit Niniashvili belted two over from long range to give them a 9-0 lead at the pause.


Fiji finally got on the scoreboard 12 minutes into the second-half. Waisea Nayacelevu went over on the left and Frank Lomani added the two points for the conversion. And they finally went ahead in the 64th minute through a Lomani penalty.

Vinaya Habosi made it 15-9 soon after and Lomani gave the Fijians some breathing space with the two-point conversion.

But they were unable to press on and score the extra two tries that would have given them a bonus point and a place in the last eight at the expense of Australia who can maintain the suspense in the pool with victory over Portugal on Sunday in Saint-Etienne.


"I think the more calm we are, the more we are going to get opportunities," said Raiwalui reflecting on the opening half.

"If we are patient and we build phases, that is where the opportunities come.

"We did that in the second-half so we had opportunities, we scored the try and we built from there."

Georgia finish their campaign next Saturday afternoon in Nantes against Wales.

"I am very proud of my players," said Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili.

"Of course we are disappointed we didn't win against Fiji but the next job is to prepare for the Welsh. We will try our best against them because it is our last game of this World Cup."

Fiji will secure their berth if they beat Portugal on 8 October in Toulouse.

Originally published on RFI

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