Fiji Stages Thrilling Comeback to Edge Closer to Rugby World Cup 2023 Quarter-Finals

Fiji Stages Thrilling Comeback to Edge Closer to Rugby World Cup 2023 Quarter-Finals

Fiji showcased their resilience with a remarkable come-from-behind victory of 17-12 against Pool C rivals Georgia in Bordeaux on Saturday, bringing them within touching distance of a spot in the quarter-finals at Rugby World Cup 2023.

In the first half, it was Georgia who seized control of the game, leaving Fiji struggling to find their customary rhythm. The Lelos managed to establish a nine-point lead as they headed into halftime.

Fiji’s breakthrough finally arrived in the 51st minute when captain Waisea Nayacalevu scored a try in the corner, followed by a successful conversion by Frank Lomani. A Lomani penalty further solidified Fiji’s lead at 10-9 with only 15 minutes remaining.

Less than five minutes later, a try by Vinaya Habosi extended Fiji’s advantage, rendering Georgia’s hopes of a comeback futile, despite a last-minute penalty in the closing moments.

Levani Botia, honored as the Mastercard Player of the Match, expressed his pride in the team’s performance, saying, “So proud of the boys. I think we struggled in the first half. We gave away opportunities, but we came back in the second half.”

Fiji’s head coach, Simon Raiwalui, conceded that his team had faced difficulties against Georgia in the opening half, admitting, “Congratulations to Georgia. If I am being honest, we were beaten to the punch in the first half. We knew it was going to be a battle. I am just thankful we have the result.”

Captain Waisea Nayacalevu commended his team’s unwavering determination, stating, “What a game! I’m pretty exhausted. Shout out to Georgia for a tough game today. I am proud of the boys. What a team effort today. We didn’t slack off; we kept fighting. I told the boys we have to keep fighting. For the record, we want to be a history-making team, and that is our goal.”

Georgia’s captain, Mikheil Nariashvili, expressed his pride in the team’s effort, even though it fell short of victory. He affirmed, “I am proud of the team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win this game. We will continue to fight for the next game [against Wales]. All the players will give their maximum to show our country at its best.”

Head coach Levan Maisashvili believed that injuries took a toll on his Georgia side, explaining, “We had a good week in preparation, and the boys played very hard. But unfortunately, we suffered some early injuries at the start of the game, and that cost us in the second half. Our performance was not quite enough, and we also had a couple of young, inexperienced players on the bench. They worked hard and gave everything, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win. I am very proud of my boys. Of course, we are disappointed we didn’t win, but the next job is to prepare for the Welsh. We will try our best because it is our last game of this World Cup.”

Mark Z

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