Fiji defeated Georgia 45-10 in a Pool D match at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture, Higashiosaka City on 3 October. Fiji had a narrow 7-3 lead over Georgia at the break before they exploded in the second half with six tries.
After opening losses to both Australia and Uruguay, Fiji has the inside track to qualification to the 2023 Rugby World Cup after beating Georgia 45-10.
The match opened with heavy rain with Georgia taking the first crack at points. Soso Matishvilli’s attempted penalty goal was wide upon review.
In the 19th minute, a grub kick by flyhalf Ben Volovolo had Semi Radradra winning the race with Giorgi Kveseladze and offloading to Waisera Nayacalevu for the try with Volovola slotting the extras to lead 7-0.
Waisera Nayacalevu and Levani Botia traded offloads, but a Nayacalevu lost the ball forward to thwart Fiji’s attack.
An attack by Georgia from their 5-meter line was started by a break from captain Merab Sharijadze and ended with a knock-on by Giorgi Nemsadze as he attempted to ground. With a penalty advantage for being offsides, Soso Matiashvili added a penalty goal in the 35th minute for a 7-3 score which held up until the break.
Lelos center Merab Sharikadze left the pitch early in the second half for an HIA and soon after, Fiji’s Radradra streamed down the wide channel and offloaded inside to scrumhalf Franked Lomani for a try, extending the lead to 12-3.
Radradra also factored in Fiji’s next try with a run that drew in Georgian defenders before offloading to Joshua Tuisova for a try and a 17-3 lead.
From the ensuing restart, Georgia attacked with a high ball and catch by Giorgi Kveseladze and a finish by Mamuka Gorgodze from close range, with Soso Matiashvili slotting the extras.
Fiji answered back with a bonus-point try by Radradra with Ben Volavola converting for a 24-10 lead.
Fiji’s second-half momentum continued with scores by flanker Semi Kunatani and then by lock Api Ratuniyarawa with Volavola slotting the conversions to control the match at 38-10.
Fiji added a try by Player of the Match Semi Radradra in the closing minutes for a 45-10 victory after Volavola’s conversion.
Fiji’s remaining pool match is on 9 October against Wales. Georgia faces Australia two days later with a chance to still qualify for the World Cup in 2023 with a win and a Fiji loss. Automatic qualification for the RWC is enough incentive to perform well, but both Wales and Australia present difficult challenges.
Georgia: 1. Mikheil Nariashvili 2. Shalva Mamukashvili 3. Beka Gigashvili 4. Giorgi Nemsadze 5. Konstantine Mikautadze 6. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili 7. Mamuka Gorgodze 8. Beka Gorgadze 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze 10. Lasha Khmaladze 11. Alexander Todua 12. Merab Sharikadze (capt.) 13. David Kacharava 14. Giorgi Kveseladze 15. Soso Matiashvili 16. Jaba Bregvadze 17. Guram Gogichashvili 18. Levan Chilachava 19. Otari Giorgadze 20. Beka Saginadze 21. Gela Aprasidze 22. Lasha Malaguradze 23. Miriani Modebadze
Fiji: 1. Campese Ma’afu 2. Samuel Matavesi 3. Manasa Saulo 4. Tevita Cavubati 5. Leone Nakarawa 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.) 7. Semi Kunatani 8. Peceli Yato 9. Frank Lomani 10. Ben Volavola 11. Semi Radradra 12. Lepani Botia 13. Waisea Nayacalevu 14. Josua Tuisova 15. Kini Murimurivalu 16. Tuvere Vugakoto 17. Eroni Mawi 18. Peni Ravai 19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa 20. Viliame Mata 21. Nikola Matawalu 22. Jale Vatubua 23. Josh Matavesi