Fiji makes history at Rugby World Cup 2023

Sports writer Aiman Fariz Zaqwan Bin Akmal Hizam discusses the Rugby World Cup.
The second round of this year’s Rugby World Cup started off with a dominant display from the host France, as they clinched a 27-12 win against Uruguay to remain on the top of Group A. In another Group A clash New Zealand bounced back from their opening loss. Damian McKenzie and Cam Roigard had two tries each as they helped the All Blacks demolish Namibia 71-3 in an 11-try showdown. This huge victory sent a message to their competitors that these former back-to-back World Champions are still a force to be reckoned with.

In Group B, the current World Rugby No. 1 Ireland demonstrated their supremacy with a commanding 59-16 win over Tonga, renewing their status as a tournament favorite. Meanwhile, the defending world champions, South Africa’s Springboks, left no room to doubt their plans for title defense. Star winger, Makazole Mapimpi, and scrum half, Cobus Reinach, each scored a hat trick of tries in a merciless 76-0 win over Romania. The upcoming clash between Ireland and South Africa in the next round promises to be one for the ages. Rugby enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await this fierce battle.

This round’s highlight, however, featured a thrilling upset, with a passionate Fiji squad outclassing Australia’s Wallabies in Group C with a score of 22-15. A high tackle by Fijian star, Josua Tuisova, early in the first half awarded the Wallabies the first penalty kick of the night, which was precisely converted by Ben Donaldson in the third minute, giving Australia an initial three-point lead. However, just eight minutes later, Simione Kuruvali stepped up to the challenge, effortlessly converting a penalty kick from the center of the pitch, leveling the score to 3-3. Another foul by the Wallabies in the 21st minute conceded them the third penalty of the match, and Kuruvali, with impeccable form, converted the kick with precision and gave Fiji a three-point lead. However, Australia did not wait long to reclaim their lead. Just two minutes after the kick, a quick out of bounds throw in by Aussie winger, Mark Nawaqanitawase, released Samu Kerevi to race down the flank. With a quick pass back to Nawaqanitawasem he was free to enter an open Fiji try zone, securing his second try of the tournament and bringing the score to 8-6 in favor of Australia.
Kuruvali continued displaying his masterclass kicking, converting another two penalty kicks in the 26th and 32nd minute of the first half, adding an additional six points to Fiji’s scoreboard. With three minutes left in the first half, a kick by Fiji’s scrum half was missed by Australia’s swarm of players, and Tuisova caught the ball effortlessly and raced down Australia’s flanks before flying into the Wallabies’ try zone for Fiji’s first try of the night. A precise conversion kick by Fiji’s Frank Lomani added two more points to Fiji’s score. As the first half concluded, Australia trailed 8-19 against Fiji.
The second half kicked off, and both teams exchanged attacks right off the bat. In the 65th minute, Australia’s number five, Richie Arnold, attempted a dangerous tackle and gave another penalty to Fiji. Situated in centerfield, the kick was swiftly converted by Lomani. Two minutes after the kick, a swift lineout play from Australia led to a try by their winger, Suliasi Vanivalu. A connection by Donaldson completed the try attempt, making the score 15-22 halfway into the second half. Australia kept attacking to score and mitigate the damages, while Fiji kept on pushing to extend their lead.
Neither team managed to find another try, and the match ended in a historic first win for Fiji, who had not beaten the Wallabies since 1972. The win helped propel Fiji from ninth to eighth in the world, while Australia fell from seventh to ninth.
Meanwhile, in Group D, England triumphed 34-12 over Japan and remained first in the group with 14 points, while Samoa beat Chile 43-10 to climb to second place with five points.

Post Author: Aiman Akmal Hizam