2023 Rugby World Cup: Fiji’s win over the Wallabies – how it happened

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FIJI Water Flying Fijians nippy halfback Simione Kuruvoli. Picture: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

At the half-time break, the FIJI Water Flying Fijians were leading Australia 12-8 in their Rugby World Cup match at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in St Etienne, France.
Fiji’s points came from the boots of half-back Simione Kuruvoli while Australia’s full-back Ben Donaldson kicked a penalty but failed to convert right winger Mark Nawaqanitawase’s from out wide.

FIJI Water Flying Fijian fans outside the stadium in St Etienne. Picture RODNEY DUTHIE

Australia gets the first points on the board after Fiji were penalised consecutively for high tackles, with Donalson splitting the uprights on occasion.
Fiji hold the ball from the kick-off and hold the ball for a number of phases but fail to penetrative the Australian defence.
Fiji are awarded a penalty after Australian lock forward Richard Arnold failed to roll away from a tackle. Kuruvoli stepped up and did look like missing from 40 metres out. The scores are tied 3-all after 13 minutes.
The match continues to see Fiji dominate possession while Australia control the territory and rare advancement into the Wallabies half ends with a penalty after openside flanker contests the ball at the ruck. Kuruvoli converts from 48 metres out.
In the 20th minute, Australia find the tryline. A clearing 50-22 kick from half-back Nic White finds its mark. The Fiji players are slow to react as Samu Kerevi throws in a quick ball which finds Mark Nawaqanitawase running in untouched. The conversion is wide of its mark as Australia leads 8-6.
In the 26th minute, referee Andrew Brace is advised by the TMO of a high tackle by White on his opposite Kuruvoli. Kuruvoli nails his third penalty from 27 metres out to take a one point lead.
The nippy half-back is back on the kicking tee after Australia are penalised for pulling down a ruck. He converts from 47 metres out on the ankle. Fiji extends its lead to 12-8 after 30 minutes.
Fiji dominates the final minutes of the half and were camped five metres from the Wallabies after failed to capitalise as the curtains fell on the first 40.
Fiji make the first substitution of the afternoon in the opening minutes of the seconf half after left winger Jiuta Wainiqolo hobbles off and is replaced by Vinaya Habosi. And then Fiji scores its first try after a box kick from Kuruvoli is not gathered in by the Australian defence and the bouncing ball finds Josua Tuisova who races in at the corner. Kuruvoli kicked over the conversion as Fiji leads 19-8.
Kuruvoli is subbed for Lomani, whose penalty attempt at goal in the 44th was wide.
Fiji change their front row and going on is Mesake Doge and Peni Ravai for Luke Tagi and Eroni Mawi, while hooker Tevita Ikanivere is on for Sam Matavesi. Levani Botia, who had grand game is back off for Albert Tuisue.
Every time Australia attack inside Fiji’s 22 metre zone, Tuisova is able to find himself over the ball and saves his side.
Fiji win a penalty after a rare entry into the Australian half and Lomani splits the uprights in the 64th minute as the lead is extended to 22-8.
Australia finally break the Fiji defence after Suliasi Vunivalu crashes in close range. Donaldson converts to make it 15-22 and 10 minutes to play.
A kicking duel ensues fior about three minutes and Fiji is winner in this one and find themselves in the Australian half.
Fiji ride out the final minutes and missed penalty by Lomani in the dying seconds ends a famous victory for Fiji – the first over Australia since 1954.

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