RWC 2023 | Fiji works overtime to conquer valiant Georgian outfit
1 October, 2023, 5:56 am
The FIJI Water Flying Fijians had to work overtime to secure a 17-12 win against Georgia during their Rugby World Cup pool C match at Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France.
Trailing 9-0 at half-time, Fiji scored two second-half tries to captain Waisea Nayacalevu and replacement winger Vinaya Habosi.
Frank Lomani, who came off the bench, was successful with the conversions and added a penalty for good measure.
Georgia’s points all came from penalties – two to fly-half Luka Matkava and two to winger Davit Niniashwili.
The win now gives Fiji 10 points in the pool with the game against Portugal to be played next week.
Wales has booked its quarter-final spot from the pool, leaving Fiji and Australia batte for second place.
Australia, which has six points, will play Portugal today in its last match of the tournament.
Missed opportunities, dropped balls and poor line-outs summed up Fiji’s first-half.
The Georgians kicked over three penalties to lead Fiji 9-0 at halftime.
Georgia applied the early pressure and was rewarded with a penalty 25 metres from in front of the uprights.
Levani Botia was deemed not to release the player in the tackle.
Matkava stepped up to put the Lelos up 3-0 after four minutes.
The referee awarded Fiji a penalty 47 metres out after a Georgian player failed to roll away from a ruck.
Simione Kuruvoli missed the penalty in the 12th minute.
Fiji failed to string together any passes and found it hard to penetrate the Georgian defence.
In the 18th minute, Niniashvili nailed a 53-metre penalty after Iliesa Droasese failed to release the ball in the tackle.
Georgia extended its lead 6-0.
Fiji butchered a number of opportunities to get their first points despite dominating territory and possession.
Grit defence from the Georgians denied Fiji any real momentum.
Niniashvili slotted over a 47-metre kick to push the Georgians further ahead to 9-0.
The penalty was awarded for an off-side play in the 30th minute.
Georgia missed a chance to score the first try of the match after a final pass to winger Akaki Tabutsadze was ruled forward just before half-time.
Georgia started the second half on the attack and found itself five metres away from Fiji’s try line and dominating the scrum.
However, Fiji survived the early scare after winning the scrum.
The shift in momentum saw Fiji take the ball up field.
Several plays later, captain Nayacalevu scored in the corner.
Replacement scrumhalf Lomani converted from out wide to make a two-point ball game in the 50th minute.
Lomani converted a low projected penalty kick on his second attempt in the 63rd minute to put Fiji in the lead 10-9.
Fiji broke the Georgian defence again, this time Botia – dubbed the demolition man – was the provider after taking out several defenders and offloading to supporting Habosi to run in.
Lomani made no mistake with the conversion as Fiji extended their lead 17-9.
Matkava converted a penalty with five minutes left as the curtains fell on Georgia’s campaign.