The follow match highlights are courtesy of World Rugby.
Australia survived a tense 45 minutes to defeat Fiji by 39-21 at the Sapporo Dome in their Rugby World Cup Pool D match on Saturday. The Fijians held a 21-12 lead early in the second half but were starved of possession in the second half that saw the Wallabies score 27 unanswered points.
Fiji nearly ended up in trouble straight from the kickoff as the ball was bobbled but they found their composure quickly. After working their way into scoring position they earned a penalty which Ben Volavola duly sent through the sticks.
Just a couple minutes later and Fiji gave the fans what they were hoping to see. A turnover gave Josua Tuisova a chance to run down the right wing. He bounced off one then offloaded to the inside, with Peceli Yato sprinting home from 40 meters.
The Wallabies finally got on the scoreboard in the 18th minute. A dominant scrum put them on the front foot and they kept the pressure on until Michael Hooper crashed over near the upright. Christian Leali’ifano chipped over the routine conversion to close the gap to one.
Volavola found his range again with two more penalty goals as the Fijian line speed was proving difficult for the Australian backs, but in the meantime they suffered a blow as Yato was forced from the field after taking a head knock. It was an incident that is likely to be hotly debated in the week as Reece Hodge appeared to crash into Yato with a flying shoulder charge that went unsanctioned.
It was the set piece that brought the Wallabies back into it. The driving maul was stopped short but Hodge was clear on the right side and quick hands put the winger into the corner. This time the kick was too much for Leali’ifano, to leave the score 14-12 at the break.
Fiji lost another key forward at halftime with Bill Mata replaced by Tevita Ratuva. They kept their composure, however, and when an Australian pass went to ground, it was Waisea Nayacalevu who pounds and raced clear from halfway for a sensational score. Volavola added the easy two and the gap was nine.
Unfortunately for the underdogs, that would spell the end of their success. Will Genia replaced Nic White at scrumhalf and Australia went back to basics. Tolu Latu would score two tries in near-identical fashion just five minutes apart. Both came from driving mauls after Fiji had conceded penalties and territory, with the second following a yellow card to Levani Botia for team infringements.
The monopoly on attack continued as the Wallabies iced the game with two more tries. When the maul stalled on a third attempt, Genia moved the ball wide to Samu Kerevi to crash through. Marika Koroibete followed Kerevi’s lead in scoring against his countrymen, beating Vereniki Goneva on the outside to score a highlight-reel try.
It’s a short turnaround for Fiji, who will have to put the disappointment behind them quickly as they face Uruguay on Wednesday. Australia will have until Sunday to prepare for their critical match against Wales that is likely the pool decider.
🇦🇺 Australia – 39
Tries: Michael Hooper (17′),Reece Hodge (35′), Tolu Latu (56′)(61′),Samu Kerevi (69′), Marika Koroibete (72′)
Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (18′), Matt Toomua (70′)(74′)
Penalties: Reece Hodge (50′)
🇫🇯 Fiji – 21
Tries: Peceli Yato (7′), Waisea Nayacalevu (43′)
Conversions: Ben Volavola (45′)
Penalties: Ben Volavola (4′)(22′)(30‘)
RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
AUS (on 84.05 points) -vs- FIJI (on 77.43 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If AUS win by 1-15 points||0.676||84.73||76.75||No|
|AUS win by more than 15||1.014||85.06||76.42||No|
|If result is a draw||1.324||82.73||78.75||No|
|If FIJI win by 1-15 points||3.324||80.73||80.75||Yes|
|If FIJI win by more than 15||4.986||79.06||82.42||Yes|
1 Scott Sio, 2 Tolu Latu, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 4 Izack Rodda, 5 Rory Arnold, 6 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 8 Isi Naisarani, 9 Nic White, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Marika Koroibete, 12 Samu Kerevi, 13 James O’Connor, 14 Reece Hodge, 15 Kurtley Beale
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Dane Haylett-Petty
1 Campese Ma’afu, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Peni Ravai, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7 Peceli Yato, 8 Viliame Mata, 9 Frank Lomani, 10 Ben Volavola, 11 Semi Radradra, 12 Levani Botia, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 15 Kini Murimurivalu
Replacements: 16 Veremalua Vugakoto, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Tevita Ratuva, 20 Mosese Voka, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Alivereti Veitokani, 23 Vereniki Goneva
Date: Saturday, September 21
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)