Bula vinaka my fellow G&GRs! With the form of both teams coming into this World Cup, I’m not sure if anyone would have been tipping the game that we ended up seeing. But let’s look at the last few times these two teams went head-to-head.
On a beautiful day in the premier wine region of Bordeaux let’s sip a cheeky little red and enjoy this one.
Fiji: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selesitino Ravutaumada, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu (c), 12 Josua Tuisova, 11 Semi Radradra, 10 Teti Tela, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Levani Botia, 6 Lekima Tagitagivalu, 5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Luke Tagi, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Temo Mayanavanua, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Vilimoni Botitu, 23 Vinaya Habosi
Georgia: 15 Miriani Modebadze, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Giorgi Kveseladze, 11 Davit Niniashvili, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Lasha Jaiani, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Tengizi Zamtaradze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili (c)
Replacements: 16 Luka Nioradze, 17 Nika Abuladze, 18 Irakli Aptsiauri, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Luka Ivanishvili, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Tornike Kakhoidze
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
H1: The first half started out with some pretty brutal defence from the Georgian pack, and the Fijians initially looked pretty undercooked. The bye week seemingly interrupted their momentum and flow. The Georgians through Niniashvili added six points from long range. In fact, one of the three-pointers was from 62 metres. Which sent a clear warning to the Fijians: if you infringe anywhere we’ll ping you every time.
The Georgians defence was immense, and the Fijians just couldn’t seem to penetrate the Georgian front line. The Fijians scratched their heads as to what the hell was going on. On the back of the three penalty kicks, Georgia looked like they would extend that lead just before half-time only for the final pass of a long-range try to be ruled as forward. Fiji definitely getting the benefit of the doubt on that one. With the Lelos chipping away against the Bula boys and taking a 9 point lead into oranges.
Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui would need to calm his team down and get them to focus and regroup.
H2: The second half commenced and Fiji showed their intent right from the kickoff, starting to gain yards with quickly recycled ball. But somehow Georgia managed to slow the Fijians down again. The men in red had their tails up early in the second half with Fiji’s former ‘mungo ball man’ Semi Radradra given a cheddar cheese for an intentional knock-on. And almost as if to settle the ledger up for the forward pass call made in the first half, Georgia got the luck of the referee’s decision.
With their captain in the naughty corner, Fiji finally found a way through in the 51st minute as Waisea Nayacalevu dotted down in the corner in a spectacular physical feat to score the first try of the game, and Frank Lomani converted. After missing a penalty attempt earlier in the game, replacement halfback Frank Lomani found his aim in the 64th minute to put Fiji into the lead for the first time in the game 10-9. Fiji started to wind up and found their rhythm went on the attack and less than five minutes later, Vinaya Habosi lodged a 5 pointer to put the game out of reach for Georgia, despite a last-minute penalty in the final seconds of the game.
The Game Changer
The Nayacalevu try with Semi Radradra in the bin seemed to break the dam wall and allow the Fijians to develop some mojo.
The Man of the Match/Standout Player
Best on the ground had to go to the MOTM Levani Botia. He had a great game with some solid metres gained.
The Details: Oranges: 9-0 Georgia. Full-Time: 17-12 to Fiji.
Fiji Scoring – Tries – Nayacelavu 52 min and Habosi 69 min. 2 x Conversions Lomani. 1 x Penalties Lomani.
Georgia scoring – 4 x Penalties – 2 x Niniashvili and 2 x Matkava.