Rugby | SPORTS

Fiji Back on Track, Two More Games

After 69 years the Flying Fijians have beaten the Australian Wallabies 22-15 in their Rugby World Cup Pool C at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Entienne, France, yesterday. The last time
19 Sep 2023 18:30
Fiji Back on Track, Two More Games
Flying Fijians winger Jiuta Wainiqolo (left) celebrates with prop Eroni Mawi after beating the Australian Wallabies 22-15 at Saint-Etienne, France, on September 17, 2023. Photo: RWC 2023

After 69 years the Flying Fijians have beaten the Australian Wallabies 22-15 in their Rugby World Cup Pool C at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Entienne, France, yesterday.

The last time Fiji beat the Wallabies was in 1954.

The win now opens up Pool C with the Flying Fijians moving to six points with Australia. They are four points behind Wales with two matches to be played.

An attempt to deny Australia, the bonus point was foiled when Frank Lomani’s penalty attempt went wide.

“That could be a massive miss,” Australia head coach Eddie Jones said after the match.

The Fijians will take a two-week rest before playing Georgia on Sunday, October 1.

The Will Skelton-captained Australian side faces Wales next Monday morning. A loss could mean the end of Australia’s campaign.

The Fijians have got to play Georgia and Portugal, who are no pushover teams.

The Flying Fijians are well aware of this after they suffered a 30-27 upset loss to Uruguay at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.


What happened?

Meanwhile, halfback Simione Kuruvoli was perfect off the tee slotting in two penalties within 20 minutes as the Flying Fijians led 6-3.

The first try of the game came in the 22nd minute through Mark Nawaqanitawase.

The wing chased a long ball, took a quick lineout and combined with Samu Kerevi before he received the offload to add five points to Australia’s tally.

Fiji’s scrum-half Simione Kuruvoli runs with the ball during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match against Australia at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, southeastern France, on September 17, 2023. Source: Francis Bompard, AFP

The Flying Fijians dominated the game in all aspects while the Wallabies were penalized time and again.

These penalties were converted by Kuruvoli who added six more points as they led 12-8 at halftime.

Fiji extended its lead when Carter Gordon misjudged the bounce of a high ball, which was scooped up by Josua Tuisova to score a try in the 42nd minute. Kuruvoli converted for a 19-8 lead.

Fijian born Wallabies winger Suliasi Vunivalu broke away from a forward move to score Australia’s second try, which was converted but it was too late.



Head coach Simon Raiwalui thanked the players for their gallant effort and said they had been preparing from the first day they went into camp.

“It’s not just today, it’s a combination of the work that we have done since the beginning of the campaign,” he said.

“The boys have worked really hard, pushed to the limits and never once did they complain and when you work hard, you get the results. Yes, super proud of them.”

Flying Fijians captain Waisea Nayacalevu dedicated the win to the Fijian fans at home and around the globe.

Flying Fijians captain, Waisea Nayacalevu.

“I told the boys, this is our final and will determine whether we want to go up to the quarters or not.

“That was our mindset, so we came here to do our best, fight until the end and the result will take care of itself,” said Nayacalevu.

Tuisova was named player of the match after scoring a try and putting on a blockbuster performance.

“It’s history and I want to thank the boys for their hard work, and giving everything they got.

“I told them in the second half to empty the tank, give everything they have, and just try to win this game, we treated this game as a final.”

Flying Fijians face Georgia in their next match on Sunday, October 1, at 3.45am (Fiji time).




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