Captain Waisea Nayacalevu began the Fijian fightback with a 51st-minute try deftly finished with inches to spare in the left corner [Source: Rugby World Cup]
Fiji avoided the kind of mega shock it is more used to dishing out at the Rugby World Cup.
This is after the Pacific islanders were constrained by a fully committed Georgia before coming back from 9-0 down to win 17-12 this morning.
The fighting victory in Pool C put Fiji on the cusp of making the quarter-finals for the first time since 2007, but not quite there yet and the deal will have to be sealed in a final pool game against another underdog in Portugal.
Captain Waisea Nayacalevu began the Fijian fightback with a 51st-minute try deftly finished with inches to spare in the left corner.
Replacement Vinaya Habosi finally subdued the Georgians when he ran onto an offload from tireless flanker Levani Botia with 12 minutes to go.
“That is amazing!”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 30, 2023
It was a full-blooded and at times chaotic match that the fans in Bordeaux lapped up.
The result was still a surprise of sorts with Fiji — having famously beaten Australia two weeks ago — expected to fly through with a winning bonus point to make the last eight. No bonus point means Fiji has to wait until next weekend and needs anything against Portugal, even a losing bonus point, to make the quarters.
Wales is already through from Pool C.
Two-time champion Australia’s very slim chances are alive again, but hinge on beating Portugal with a bonus point on Sunday, and then Portugal denying Fiji in the final set of games.
SCOTLAND 84, ROMANIA 0
Scotland confirmed the showdown it craves with Ireland for a place in the quarterfinals from Pool B after routing hapless Romania 84-0.
Top-ranked Ireland leads the pool after a titanic win over defending champion South Africa last weekend but it could possibly fail to reach the quarters if it loses to Scotland next Saturday at Stade de France.
How many of the Scots who ran rings around the Romanians will face Ireland is debatable, though. Scotland rested 13 front-liners, who watched in comfort at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy as their squad mates racked up 12 converted tries, 11 of them converted by Ben Healy, who scored a try for a 27-point haul in his Rugby World Cup debut.
Slippery wing Darcy Graham became the second Scot to score four tries in a Rugby World Cup match and has 24 career tries, tied for second on Scotland’s all-time list.
Ireland had its bye this weekend and will have had two weeks rest by the time it lines up against Scotland to determine both their fates.
“We’ve got to produce probably our best performance of the year, one of our best ever performances,” Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said. “It’ll be a cracking game, Stade de France full of Scotland and Ireland fans.”
ARGENTINA 59, CHILE 5
Argentina set up another winner-takes-all clash with Japan for a quarterfinal spot from Pool D after dominating Chile 59-5 in a rousing first South American derby at the Rugby World Cup in Saturday’s first game.
Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez enjoyed a perfect 100th test with 20 points and a try and became the Pumas’ all-time leading point-scorer in the tournament. His seven-for-seven goalkicking and leadership may also make coach Michael Cheika reconsider whether to continue with Santiago Carreras as Argentina’s 10 against the Japanese.
“They (Japan) are quarterfinalists from the last World Cup and we’re not, so we’re very hungry to be in that position,” Cheika said.
Sanchez became the second Pumas centurion after Agustin Creevy, who also marked a personal milestone against Chile with a try as he tied Mario Ledesma as Argentina’s most capped Rugby World Cup player in his 18th match.
Los Pumas scored eight converted tries: Flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez collected two, and the others went to Carreras, fullback Martin Bogado, winger Rodrigo Isgro, and replacement Ignacio Ruiz. A fifth successive 50-plus points win over Chile earned Argentina its second biggest Rugby World Cup win after beating Namibia 63-3 in 2007.
Yet the biggest cheer came from the large contingent of Chile’s Los Condores supporters, who were loud before kickoff and raised the roof seven minutes from the end when replacement hooker Tomas Dussaillant was bulldozed over the line in a rolling maul.