Fiji beat Australia on Sunday for just the third time in their history to take second place in Pool C of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It was Fiji’s first win over the Australians since 1954 and the first major upset of the tournament that started on the 9th of September.
The match was very defensive with only a few chances to score for both sides in the 80 minutes. The Australians gave away 18 penalties, 11 at the breakdown which led to a majority of Fiji’s points. It should be noted that Australia has brought its youngest squad in 20 years to a World Cup, a squad which is still learning how to win.
Fiji lost narrowly in their opening match of the World Cup against Wales, 32-26, despite almost making a stunning comeback. They did receive a bonus point for scoring over 4 tries which could become very important in their chances to advance.
With just the top 2 advancing from each pool to the quarter-finals, Fiji are now nicely placed to make the knockout stage. Their two remaining matches are against Georgia and Portugal, both of whom they will be heavy favourites against. Australia have a crucial match against Wales coming up which will likely determine their fate in the competition.
Fiji started the match in control, going up 6-3 via two penalties kicked by Simione Kuruvoli. The Australians did however take the lead briefly after a quick line-out score set up for Mark Nawaqanitawase. The lead didn’t last long however as the Fijians added another two penalties to go into halftime up 12-8.
Fiji extended their lead in the second half to 22-8 before Suli Vunivalu scored a try for Australia cutting the deficit to 22-15. Unfortunately for the Australians that was the end of the scoring for the night as Fiji closed out the match with their defense.
Australia started the match with a few key injuries — captain Will Skelton, vice captain Tate McDermott and tighthead Taniela Tupou.
Rugby World Cup Pool Standings
Find below the complete standings all Rugby World Cup matches as of September 17th:
*Top 2 teams from each pool advance to the quarter finals
*Bonus points awarded for scoring 4 or more tries in a match
Remaining Group Stage Schedule
Sept 20 – Italy v Uruguay, Stade de Nice, 4.45pm
Sept 21 – France v Namibia, Stade de Marseille, 8pm
Sept 22 – Argentina v Samoa, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm
Sept 23 – Georgia v Portugal, Stadium de Toulouse, 1pm
Sept 23 – England v Chile, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm
Sept 23 – South Africa v Ireland, Stade de France, 8pm
Sept 24 – Scotland v Tonga, Stade de Nice, 4.45pm
Sept 24 – Wales v Australia, OL Stadium, 8pm
Sept 27 – Uruguay v Namibia, OL Stadium, 4.45pm
Sept 28 – Japan v Samoa, Stade de Toulouse, 8pm
Sept 29 – New Zealand v Italy, OL Stadium, 8pm
Sept 30 – Argentina v Chile, Stade de la Beaujoire, 2pm
Sept 30 – Fiji v Georgia, Stade de Bordeaux, 4.45pm
Sept 30 – Scotland v Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 8pm
Oct 1 – Australia v Portugal, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm
Oct 1 – South Africa v Tonga, Stade de Marseille, 8pm
Oct 5 – New Zealand v Uruguay, OL Stadium, 8pm
Oct 6 – France v Italy, OL Stadium, 8pm
Oct 7 – Wales v Georgia, Stade de la Beaujoire, 2pm
Oct 7 – England v Samoa, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm
Oct 7 – Ireland v Scotland, Stade de France, 8pm
Oct 8 – Japan v Argentina, Stade de la Beaujoire, 12pm
Oct 8 – Tonga v Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm
Oct 8 – Fiji v Portugal, Stade de Toulouse, 8pm
*All times in provided in GMT