Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool C: Australia 15-22 Fiji

Levani Botia of Fiji passes the ball whilst under pressure from Tom Hooper and Richard Arnold of Australia
Levani Botia of Fiji passes the ball whilst under pressure from Tom Hooper and Richard Arnold of Australia
©Photo by Pauline Ballet - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Australia 15-22 Fiji, Pool C, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard

Fiji recorded their first win in the ongoing Rugby World Cup campaign as they edged past Australia 22-15 in their Pool C clash at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday.

The result meant Fiji now have moved to the second place in the table with six points and with games against Georgia and Portugal left they will be fancying their chances of a quarter-final while Australia slip to third place and will have a vital clash against Wales next.

Australia were without their skipper Will Skelton, who was unable to prove his fitness due to a calf injury and Dave Porecki was handed the armband. Richie Arnold came into the second row replacing Skelton while Matt Philip was brought in as cover.

It took the Wallabies just three minutes to get their first points on the board as Sam Matavesi was penalised for getting his arms too high in the tackle and Ben Donaldson kicked the three-pointer.

Simione Kuruvoli with back to back penalties in the 12th and 21st minutes got Fiji into a 3-6 lead with the second penalty coming after Fraser McReight was penalised for tackling off his feet. The lead though was short-lived as Mark Nawaqanitawase combined with Samu Kerevi for the opening try of the game but the conversion drifted wide making it 8-6.

Fiji capitalised on the ill-discipline from the Wallabies with two more penalties from Kurivoli ensured his side went into the break with a 8-12 lead.

Fiji extended their momentum into the second half as Kurivoli sent a box kick breaching the Australian defence with eventually Josua Tuisova touching down. Kurivoli kicked the conversion from the left as they increased their lead to 8-19. Kurivoli was replaced by Frank Lomani in the 47th minute but the latter missed a penalty chance straightaway as the gap remained at 11 points.

At the end of the third quarter, Fiji lost Levani Botia to a Head Injury Assessment but they went on to win another breakdown penalty which Lomani kicked from the tee to make it 8-22. With 12 minutes left in the game, Suli Vunivalu dived over at the back of a rumbling maul and Donaldson improved to bring the gap to seven points which the Wallabies could not overcome as they suffered their third defeat against Fiji.

Points Table: Pool C

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 Wales 2 2 0 10
2 Fiji 2 1 1 6
3 Australia 2 1 1 6
4 Georgia 1 0 1 0
5 Portugal 1 0 1 0

What's Next:

Australia will be facing Wales next in a must-win encounter in Lyon on Sunday while Fiji will be fancying their chances of a possible quarter-final with games against Georgia and Portugal scheduled on 30th September and 8th October respectively.

Match Reactions:

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones was disappointed with his side's performance.

"Thoroughly deserved victory for Fiji, they outplayed us, particularly around the ruck. They executed three times more turnovers than us, and in a close game like that, that's the difference."

"For some reason we were just off today. If you look at the stats, we dominated. We scored two tries to one, but we were a poor version of ourselves today, so there's a bit of soul-searching to do, but it makes the Wales game pretty important."

Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui is excited about the result and is now looking to build on the momentum.

"I'm emotionally drained at the moment. I'm really proud of the boys. It was a great contest, a great Australian side. We're Pacific neighbours so we know each other well. It was a great match. It kept us guessing until the end."

Team line up:

Australia XV: Ben Donaldson; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Carter Gordon, Nic White; Angus Bell, David Porecki, James Slipper, Nick Frost, Arnold, Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Richard Arnold, Robert Leota, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Lalakai Foketi, Suli Vunivalu

Fiji XV: Ilaisa Droasese; Jiuta Wainiqolo, Waisea Nayacalevu (captain), Josua Tuisova, Semi Radradra; Teti Tela, Simione Kuruvoli; Eroni Mawi, Samuel Matavesi, Luke Tagi, Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Lekima Tagitagivalu, Levani Botia, Viliame Mata

Reserves: Tevita Ikanivere, Peni Ravai, Mesake Doge, Temo Mayanavanua, Albert Tuisue, Frank Lomani, Vilimoni Botitu, Vinaya Habosi