Fiji take a big step towards the quarter-finals, after a difficult success against Georgia

Despite their victory against Georgia on Saturday in Bordeaux (17-12), Fiji, second in Group C, will have to wait until their last match against Portugal, on October 8, to be mathematically assured of qualifying for the quarters. final, a performance they already achieved during the 1987 and 2007 World Cups.

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After their short defeat against the Welsh (32-26) and their prestigious success against the Australians (22-15), the “Flying Fijians » suffered on Saturday. It’s their opponents’ fault, since for better, then for worse, Georgia chose to play surprising rugby, far removed from its identity.

In the first period, as dynamic as it was applied, the Caucasus XV showed its new technical range, like the penalties skilfully passed by Luka Matkava (5e) and the elusive Davit Niniashvili (19e31e). At halftime, the Georgians led 9-0, and there was no sign of their elimination a few minutes later.

“We like to keep the ball alive”

Indeed, upon returning from the locker room, the “Flying Fijians” offered a much sharper and more inspired game. Captain Josua Tuisova scored the first Fijian try from the sidelines (7-9, 51e), despite the numerical inferiority of his team, following the yellow card of Semi Radradra (42e).

Sounding the revolt, the Fijians then took the lead for the first time, thanks to a penalty provided by Frank Lomani (10-9, 64e). Barely four minutes later, three-quarterback Viunaya Habosi made the Islanders’ highlight a reality with another saving try (17-9, after conversion, 68e).

At the origin of this turnaround: the Rochelais Levani Botia, formidable on his percussions and involved in the majority of Fijian incursions. “I’m very proud of the boys. We had difficulties in the first half. We wasted some chances, but luckily the boys came back in the second halfwas the third line at the BBC microphone. One important thing to know is that we like to keep the ball alive. »

Australia no longer has its destiny in its hands

If the Fijians dominated the battle of the rucks, their final copy remains no less messy. Never calm, the men of the Pacific may regret missing out on an offensive bonus synonymous with automatic qualification for the quarter-finals.

Second in Group C with 10 points behind Wales, Josua Tuisova’s partners must still collect at least one point against Portugal on October 8 to certainly qualify for the rest of the tournament. Unless there is a disaster scenario for Fiji, Australia – third with 6 points – should therefore leave the group stage of a World Cup for the first time in its history.

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Georgia will face the Leek XV on October 7, with the aim of securing a potential third place, synonymous with qualification for the 2027 World Cup. “I am proud of my team, assured Mikheil Nariashvili, pillar and captain of Georgia, after the match. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. Congratulations to Fiji, who had a good match. We will continue to fight and I am sure that all the players on the pitch will show the best face of this country. »

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