Fiji produced a powerful second-half performance to record their first win of the 2019 World Cup when they beat Georgia 45-10 on Thursday, writes JOHN GOLIATH.
The Pacific Islanders, who suffered a shock defeat by Uruguay in their previous Pool D match, initially struggled to get going in the first half due to a slippery ball caused by the humidity and rain.
They managed a solitary try in the first stanza scored by Waisea Nayacalevu, who benefited from a piece of individual brilliance by Semi Radrada, to go into half time 7-3 in the lead after Georgia’s Soso Matiashvili kicked a penalty.
However, the Fijians were simply magnificent in the second half, as they turned on the style with some awesome handling, offloading and powerful running. They even managed to dominate the powerful Georgians at scrum time on quite a few occasions in the second half.
Radrada scored a second-half brace, and were involved in many of the other tries as Fiji scored 38 points in the second half. Frank Lomani, Josua Tuisova, Semi Kunatani and Api Ratuniyarawa also crossed the whitewash for the men in white, while Ben Volovola kicked five conversions in the bonus-point win.
Georgia rugby great Mamuka Gorgodze scored his team’s only try of the second half, but was helpless against the pace and the power of Fiji, who moved up to third place in Pool D. The team who finishes third in the pool automatically qualifies for the 2023 World Cup in France.
Fiji next play Wales.
Georgia – Try: Mamuka Gorgodze. Conversion: Soso Matiashvili. Penalty: Matiashvili.
Fiji – Tries: Waisea Nayacalevu, Frank Lomani, Josua Tuisova, Semi Radradra (2), Semi Kunatani, Api Ratuniyarawa. Conversions: Ben Volavola (5).
Georgia – 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Kveseladze, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze (c), 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Subs: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Otari Giorgadze, 20 Beka Saginadze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Lasha Malaguradze, 23 Miriani Modebadze.
Fiji – 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Lepani Botia, 11 Semi Radradra, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Peceli Yato, 7 Semi Kunatani, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu (c), 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Samuel Matavesi, 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Subs: 16 Tuvere Vugakoto, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Peni Ravai, 19 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Jale Vatubua, 23 Josh Matavesi.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images