Fiji move a step closer to Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after tense victory over brave Georgia

Planet Rugby

Waisea Nayacalevu in action for Fiji against Georgia in the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji will have to wait to secure their passage into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals despite overcoming Georgia 17-12 in Bordeaux.

The Pacific Islanders needed a win with a try bonus-point over the Lelos to make sure of their place in the last-eight, but they could only touch down two times.

Quite frankly, they will be thankful for those scores as they found themselves 9-0 behind at the break following penalties from Luka Matkava and David Niniashvili.

Georgia were hugely impressive, forcing their opponents into a number of handling errors, but the Flying Fijians’ greater quality eventually told.

Simon Raiwalui’s men calmed themselves down in the second period, stopped dropping the ball so much and went over twice through Waisea Nayacalevu and Vinaya Habosi.

That, alongside seven points from the boot of Frank Lomani, was enough to claim the win and take them to within touching distance of the knockout stages.

Should Australia fail to pick up a bonus-point victory over Portugal, that will be enough for Fiji, but more than likely they will need to claim something from their final pool game against Os Lobos.

Click here for scorers

Georgia’s opportunism and brilliant defence gave them a surprise nine-point lead at the break.

Matkava opened the scoring, with the boot of Niniashvili adding six points from long range.

It was the first time Fiji had gone into the interval scoreless in a Test in six years.

Fiji finally got on the scoreboard six minutes into the second half as skipper Nayacalevu produced a brilliant finish under pressure to sneak over in the corner.

Lomani added a difficult conversion and, strengthened by the return of Semi Radradra from the sin bin, Fiji piled on the pressure.

Lomani’s penalty gave them the lead for the first time with 15 minutes remaining.

Three minutes later Levani Botia charged through a gap and found Habosi, who sprinted over unopposed.

Lomani landed the conversion but there was more drama in the final minute as Josua Tuisova was sent to the sin bin for making head contact on Miriani Modebadze.

Matkava kicked his second penalty and Fiji survived from the final play of the game when Niniashvili broke down the left and kicked ahead, only for Ilaisa Droasese, behind his line, to hack the ball to safety.

The teams

Fiji: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selesitino Ravutaumada, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu (c), 12 Josua Tuisova, 11 Semi Radradra, 10 Teti Tela, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Levani Botia, 6 Lekima Tagitagivalu, 5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Luke Tagi, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Temo Mayanavanua, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Vilimoni Botitu, 23 Vinaya Habosi

Georgia: 15 Miriani Modebadze, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Giorgi Kveseladze, 11 Davit Niniashvili, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Lasha Jaiani, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Tengizi Zamtaradze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili (c)
Replacements: 16 Luka Nioradze, 17 Nika Abuladze, 18 Irakli Aptsiauri, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Luka Ivanishvili, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Tornike Kakhoidze

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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