australia v fijiPosted on October 8th, 2020
They win the scrum feed after a small Fijian knock on. And can you blame him. Fire us an email or tweet to join the conversation here - this is a train that picks up all passengers. A full list of contents for Rugby World's November 2020 issue, This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Try 5 issues of Rugby World magazine for just £5, LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS.
It’s a good point, Ben. 13 min: Relieving penalty for Australia from the scrum - they need to win some little battles, the Wallabies - it’s been the Pasifika nation that’s on the front foot over the first 10 or so minutes.
Should he even be on the field right now? Australia: Kurtley Beale (Dane Haylett-Petty 70); Reece Hodge, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Christian Lealiifano (Matt To’omua 59), Nic White (Will Genia 52); Scott Sio (James Slipper 64), Tolu Latu (Jordan Uelese 64), Allan Alaalatoa (Sekope Kepu 64), Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold (Adam Coleman 68), David Pocock, Michael Hooper (captain), Isi Naisarani (Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 57). But it’s a knock on from White. That’s the game, that’s the win for Australia. A curious kicking style, but he gets it done. Leali’ifano gets back to his feet, a little gingerly.
A strong forward pack move from Australia, and they finally get their reward! They led at the break, and even jumped to a nine-point lead early in the second half, but whether fitness or depth played a part, it was Australia that finished by far the stronger side. They’ve won their opening pool game on 7 of 8 occasions, Australia (spot quiz: can you remember the one they didn’t?) Fiji earn the penalty and they look to play on - can they salvage a late consolation try?
They take the shot at goal from deep, and it just stays on line from Volavola.
They clear their lines, but not huge metres. 28 min: Good attacking momentum here, but they’ve spilled in contact again, just 10m from the line, Fiji!
A tricky one from Volavola but he just creeps it over.
It’s well received by the crowd, and the Australian team.
Three Fijian-born players in the Wallabies XV - Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete and Isi Naisarani. 60 min: So - they’ve led for almost an hour, Fiji - but now the pressure is building.
17 min: Wallabies with a big push from the scrum - good opportunity here, they’re just 10m out. “Are you happy with that one?” “Absolutely!”. Australia look to spread again, but Koroibete almost runs out of real estate. They kick to clear their line, Fiji.
Sat 21 Sep 2019 02.54 EDT 77 min: Over 40,000 fans in tonight in Sapporo, and they’ve seen some decent rugby tonight - even if the neutral might have wanted to see it finish a little closer.
Also make sure you know about the Groups, Warm-ups, Dates, Fixtures, Venues, TV Coverage, Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links. It’s a long feed, and they’re straight on the attack, the Fijians. Big last man tackle from Hodge - he may have saved a try there.
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It’s an interesting question, Ceri - at first look I did wonder if he got the arms wrapped, the Australian winger, as he came across at pace.
No walk in the park for the Wallabies and what a test for the Pasifika nation.
Fiji have grounds to be aggrieved - they’ve been so good for so long, but it’s those championship minutes that have come to haunt them.
A change of tactics - a reversion to a simpler form of rugby, built on clever kicking and solid metres up the centre - probably played a part in the significant shift of momentum. A tight one - he doesn’t often get those wrong, the world’s best pilferer. Two points left on the field? 10 min: Welly, well. Can they hang on for this final 20?
Both sides will begin to shuffle their packs - do they have the depth from the bench? If they didn’t realise they were at the World Cup, the Wallabies - they do now. A game-high 9pt lead for Fiji! 48 min: It’s a burst from Hooper!
A first look at Pool D action. Dramatic start - Fiji recover the ball, just metres from their own line.
Then Australia returned to the strength of their set-piece and Tolu Latu scored twice in the space of five minutes from close-range driving mauls.
They’re big, physical guys, they really took it to us. So! The likes of Peceli Yato (before he went off midway through the first half with concussion), Levani Botia, Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova showed the potential Fiji have at this World Cup, even if they couldn’t close out the match. @rrjparkin Great to see a Fiji team with proper prep behind them. It’s a tough scoreline this - if you wandered in you’d think it was a comfortable margin for the Wallabies, but for 60 or so minutes it was anything but. 6 min: Australia do well to regather from the short kick off, but they look to push wide and it’s into touch as Beale fails to find his man on the wing.
But he’s replaced for a suspected head knock. Played – 22. 43 min: And now a penalty to the Wallabies as White is cleaned out illegally. 75 min: it’s Australia, once again on the attack.
Michael Hooper looks a relieved man after the match. 27 min: They go left Fiji, but it’s good defence from Hodge once again and Botia spills the ball in the contact!
We set for a scrum though.
It’s almost a carbon copy play from Australia - they get the push moving, Fiji try to defend but they spin it left this time, and it’s a rare try double for the hooker, Latu!
Australia v Fiji. Ranked in the top ten - above nations such as Argentina that have troubled Australia. 56 min: Australia try the cross-field kick - but the fullback Murimurivalu cleans up. Australia kick to touch and Latu looks to feed in. And Volavola looks for touch - and that’s the first half!
They swing it wide for a change, and the man advantage pays dividend. Afternoon/morning/evening all!
And it’s the big centre - Nayacalevu - who recovers and sprints away through the middle! Arnold rises and wins well. Fiji’s penalty count ratcheted up – Levani Botia was sin-binned between Latu’s two scores – and they couldn’t escape their own half. Tries: Hooper 17, Hodge 35, Latu 57, 62, Kerevi 69, Koroibete 72.
But it just slides to the left! This allowed Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete to cross and add a more comfortable feel to the scoreline of a match that was certainly not comfortable for the Wallabies. They win it, the men in gold - but Nakarawa isolates Nic White, and they’ve conceded an early penalty, the Wallabies!
The second half began in a similar way to the first, Fiji’s attack catching out the Wallabies and Waisea Nayacalevu bursting through to score.
It was a big collision and it’s a shame to see that Yato hasn’t returned to the action. Australia were good in the scrum, solid in the lineout and started to get on top with the driving mauls.
We had a bit of an inability to get out of our own half; that’s when they won some critical turnovers.”, Power surge: Waisea Nayacalevu breaks for his second-half try (Getty Images). Toomua with the attempt from near the touchline - and the legs are warm now, and he slots it!
I dunno - see if it’s on Youtube somewhere. With Fiji one of the so-called “tier two” nations that’s very much on the rise, packed with explosive individual talent, there’s a lurking suspicion the powerhouses at rugby sevens level might just be ready to step up and make a huge statement in the 15-a-side game.
I don’t think guys like Pocock fancy this - it’s been a long hard road back from injury for some.
Cons: Lealiifano, To’omua 2.
For nearly 50 minutes they were absolutely in a battle here - Fiji were expected to be fearsome with ball in hand, but especially in the first half the Pasifika nation also looked well-organised, disciplined and solid at the set piece.
They trailed by nine points – 21-12 – after 46 minutes but then scored 27 unanswered points. It feels an age since both David Pocock and Michael Hooper both started in gold for Australia, while for NRL fans, there’s a pretty familiar name starting in the centres for Fiji. A bruising encounter first up - plenty to come from this group with Wales, Georgia and Uruguay still to come!
An important three points for Australia to bring it back inside a converted try.
Fiji came out firing in Sapporo, with Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova causing havoc among Australia’s defence, but it was two Fijians – and a Tongan – playing in Wallaby colours who eventually saw the two-time World Cup winners to victory.
Fiji wins – 2. He came so close to engineering a stunning first-up result here today, but perhaps that reaction tells you that he knows his side have finally let this one slip. So, it’s one from one in Pool D for Australia, as they start their ninth World Cup campaign in the manner they’ve started eight previously, with a win.