Wing Vereniki Goneva scored four of Fiji's six tries to help beat Namibia 49-25 in a highly entertaining RWC match on Saturday.
Wing Vereniki Goneva scored four of Fiji's six tries to help beat Namibia 49-25 in a highly entertaining Rugby World Cup match on Saturday.
The brave Namibians can hold their heads up high after producing a more than competitive performance, leading twice in the early stages of the match. However Fiji's attacking prowess was just too hot to handle in Rotorua.
Seremaia Bai added 19 points from the boot for the islanders, while former soldier Leone Nakarawa and Naipolioni Nalaga also added their name to Fiji's scoresheet.
Namibia pivot Theuns Kotze contributed 15 points, including a hat-trick of drop goals, while Heinz Koll and Chrysander Botha scored scintillating tries.
Despite their defeat, Namibia – handed a World Cup record 142-0 thrashing by Australia eight years ago – enjoyed their highest score and closest result in four appearances at rugby's biggest showpiece.
Orchestrated by Kotze, the Namibians took great satisfaction from keeping the tiring Flying Fijians on the defence for much of the second half in an engrossing spectacle at Rotorua International Stadium.
It was the boot of Kotze against Fiji's try-scoring genius in the first half as the number ten, starting just his second Test, nailed three drop-goals in just four minutes to put the 2007 quarter-finalists on the back foot.
But Sevens specialists Fiji dazzled with ball in hand and Goneva rampaged down the right-hand touchline for a first-half hat-trick alongside a lone effort from Nakarawa to make it 32-15 at half-time.
Namibia had denied Fiji possession for long periods of the first half and they burst through for a long-range first try after the break, with lock Heinz Koll finishing off a move from deep within their own half.
Fiji's Goneva hit back with his fourth score but Namibia ran in their second through full-back Chrysander Botha on 56 minutes, setting up a spell of heavy pressure with the scores at 39-25.
However, Bai put the game effectively out of reach with a penalty before left wing Naipolioni Nalaga crossed in the dying minutes.
Man of the match: Vereniki Goneva. Count 'em… one, two, three, four.
Moment of the match: Take your pic from any of the eight tries scored.
Villain of the match: Thrilling match played in good spirits.
Tries: Goneva 4, Nakarawa, Nalaga
Cons: Bai 4
Pens: Bai 3
Drops: Kotze 3
Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Gaby Lovobalavu, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Waisea Sedre Luveniyali, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Netani Edward Talei, 7 Mala Ravulo, 6 Dominiko Maiwiriwiri Waqaniburotu, 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Deacon Manu (c), 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Waisea Nailago, 18 Seko Kalou, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Vitori Tomu Buatava, 21 Albert James Vulivuli, 22 Iliesa Lomani Rakuka Keresoni.
Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie Van Wyk, 12 Piet Van Zyl, 11 Conrad Marais, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 7 Jacques Burger (c), 6 Tinus Du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Raoul Larson, 2 Hugo Horn, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Bertus O'Callaghan, 17 JanÃ© Du Toit, 18 Pieter Jan van Lill, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Ryan De La Harpe, 21 Darryl De La Harpe, 22 Llewellyn Winkler.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)