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Fiji v Georgia: Rugby World Cup 2023 – live

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16 mins. Slowly, Fiji are starting to dominate at the breakdown and it’s showing in the penalty count. The latest is put in the corner for Fiji to win a lineout and go to work moving the ball across their backline, but play is rightly called to a halt as Lasha Jaiani is down and in pain after what looked like his leg bending very much the wrong way at a ruck.

The stretcher cart is on, and the second row is off, replaced by Nodar Cheishvili

MISSED PENALTY! Fiji 0 – 3 Georgia (Simione Kuruvoli)

13 mins. Georgia are caught the wrong side at the ruck and Kurivoli calls for the tee then slices it quite horribly right of the posts. Place kicking: yet another thing going badly for Fiji thus far.

Luka Nioradze is on early to make his RWC debut at hooker for Tengizi Zamtaradze, who appears to have knacked his wrist.

12 mins. Tela finally finds touch from a penalty, but Matavesi’s throw is high, wild and incredibly unhandsome to give the ball once again to Georgia in the Fiji half. This time the Lelos have some imprecision of their own to allow Droasese to clear.

8 mins. Fiji have had a terrible start through a combination of poor restart drills and missing touch twice, the latest of which has the Lelos returning to the 22. They are up to 13 phases before Matkava fumbles the ball to relieve the Fijian defence of any further consequences of their own self-injurious behaviour.

PENALTY! Fiji 0 – 3 Georgia (Luka Matkava)

5 mins. The early Georgian pressure is rewarded as the halfback kicks his side into the lead.

3 mins. An early lineout for Georgia after Fiji clear their lines comes to little more than a mark called by Droasese. But the clearance is not the best from the Fijian fullback and this invites the Lelos back into the half on the right as the ball is worked swiflty through hands.

The Fiji defence looks in real trouble, but Niniashvili’s final pass is just behind Tabutsadze who cant’s grab it with a try looking odds on.

The action gets under way in Bordeaux.

The action gets under way in Bordeaux. Photograph: Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters

Kick Off!

Ref Karl Dickson blasts his whistle, prompting Luka Matkava to punt the ball towards the Fijian 22 to start us up

The teams vacate the tunnel to be greeted by swirling cheers in this tight and atmospheric stadium in Bordeaux. The sun continues to beam in the glorious early evening near the Biscayan coast and after the anthems we’ll be all set to go.

Pre-match reading

Fiji are looking locked-on for a quarter final encounter with England. Former England attack coach Nick Evans takes a look at the options in that game.

Let me know your reflections on this match, or the wider Pool C scenario on the Email

Teams

A bonus point win for Fiji will see them qualified for the knockouts while also ending Australia’s tournament. Coach Raiwalui is going all-in on this outcome by naming a full-bore side with just one injury replacement; Selesitino Ravutaumada coming in for Jiuta Wainiqolo on the wing.

Georgia top man Levan Maisashviki has made seven changes to his starting line-up, including in the half-back with Vasil Lobzhanidze and Luka Matkava in for Gela Aprasidze and Tedo Abzhandadze after the disappointing game management vs Os Lobos.

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 Samuel 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

Preamble

Welcome to the latest installation in the rollercoaster of surprises that is Pool C.

Australia are pretty much already on the Quantas flying tube of misery back home, Wales have qualified at a 200-plus tackles a game canter, and Portugal have not lost every game while delighting everyone in the process. Which leaves Fiji and Georgia, the two sides facing up today.

Fiji took their defeat vs Wales in the opening weekend and shaped it into an utterly dominant performance in the defeat of the Wallabies; they are now poised to finish second in the Group to face England in the quarters. Head Coach, Simon Raiwalui, is so at ease with his squad’s situation he even finds time to accurately sum up Piers Morgan.

Georgia meanwhile are in the running with Italy and Australia for a wholly unwanted title: that of most disappointing team of the tournament. Despite the constant references to their frightening scrum and set-piece, those days have been gone for some time, and in its stead has come a frailty at the heart of their play that was so very nearly exposed by Portugal last week.

Is another Pool C shock in the offing? Not likely; the Fijians should have too much power, craft and organisation for the Lelos – expect qualification to be confirmed with a decent win.


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