Fiji will continue intend to ‘play like Fijians’ as glory beckons

Author: APP

Bordeaux: Despite another nerve-stretching finish, the Fijians kept flying against Georgia and then promised they will keep playing their high-risk style even if their quarter-final place is not secured before they face Portugal in the last group-stage game.

In their opener, Fiji dropped a last-second chance that could have beaten Wales. On Saturday, in Bordeaux, they survived trailing by nine points at half time and a frantic final Georgian assault to win 17-12.

“That’s how we train every week. We play like Fijians. We trust each other. Keep the ball alive,” said flanker Levani Botia, the player of the match.

Fiji will qualify for the last eight if Australia fail to collect a bonus-point win against Portugal on Sunday. Otherwise, Fiji will start their last game needing just a bonus point to advance.

“I am really just worried about Portugal coming up, we have to take care of business. Prepare well and put on a performance,” said coach Simon Raiwalui. “If we look too far beyond that we are going to slip over.

“We won against a good team and now we have to prepare for another good team, Portugal. “A lot of people are patting us on the back. People are talking about the quarter-finals.”

“There’s a lot of outside noise about who we’re playing next and what we’re doing in the future,” he said.

“The good thing about this team, in the past we may have chased the game,” he said. “This team stuck at it. It wasn’t a tidy game but we managed to come away with a result.”

Fiji could face England, who they beat for the first time after six defeats, in August at Twickenham.

Scrum half Frank Lomani only attempted a half-hearted sidestep when asked about a rematch.

“That is history,” he said of the last meeting. “England are a better side, for us we are just worrying about our team.

“We don’t worry about outside noise, we just focus on every game as a final. Even if we play England in a quarter-final, we are just going to play how we play.”

Lomani said that as they fought back from an error-strewn first half against Georgia, Fiji were rewarded for their uptempo, high-risk attacking style.

“I think Fiji really wanted to play really fast and how we used to play,” said Lomani, who kicked eight second-half points.

“We went back to how we play, throwing the ball,” he said. “If we are patient, we build phases and that is where opportunities come..”

Botia, who threw one particularly eye-catching pass to set up Vinaya Habosi for the second try and was named player of the match, agreed.

“I think one thing about us Fijians is we like to keep the ball alive, we trust each other, I saw my teammate and I understand I have to give the opportunity. Rugby is rugby, you don’t know what will happen.”

He said that whatever result Fiji needed in the last group game, they had to keep doing what they were doing and maybe up the intensity.

“The team next week is going to drive us for the quarter-final,” he said. “So we need to stay in the same level. We don’t need to stay at the comfort level. We need to push up a little.”

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