Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeWorldAustralia v Fiji: Rugby World Cup 2023 – live

Australia v Fiji: Rugby World Cup 2023 – live

Key events

PENALTY! Australia 3 – 0 Fiji (Ben Donaldson)

3 mins. Early penalty for Australia after Matavesi gets his arms too high in the tackle gives them an attacking platform in the Fiji 22. They go off the top of the lineout, but it looks a little frantic before Tuisova takes turn in getting his arm up round a neck in the tackle. This penalty is very kickable, so Donaldson wastes no time putting his side ahead.

Kick Off!

Ref Andrew Brace blacks on his horn of instruction and Ben Donaldson lofts the ball deep with his boot and we’re away.

Here come the teams, emerging from the blue tunnel into the roar of the crowd in St Etienne. It’ll be anthem time, then kick-off.

“So much talk of Wales and Italy being best anthems; surely Fiji is right up there? Fantastic inspiring song and melody.” Posits DDJ Stephens.

Pre-match reading

Australia must improve and our man Angus Fontaine has some thoughts on this.


Eddie Jones has made three changes with James Slipper and scrum-half Nic White coming into the side to replace injured Taniela Tupou and Tate McDermott. Nic Frost is in the second row.

Fiji coach Raiwalui moves centre Semi Radradra to the left wing to bring in Josua Tuisova, who was a scoring replacement vs Wales. Tuisova will face Samu Kerevi in a monstrous battle at inside centre.

AUSTRALIA Ben Donaldson; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Carter Gordon, Nic White; Angus Bell, David Porecki, James Slipper, Nick Frost, Will Skelton (captain), Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Richard Arnold, Robert Leota, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Lalakai Foketi, Suli Vunivalu

FIJI Ilaisa Droasese; Jiuta Wainiqolo, Waisea Nayacalevu (captain), Josua Tuisova, Semi Radradra; Teti Tela, Simione Kuruvoli; Eroni Mawi, Samuel Matavesi, Luke Tagi, Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Lekima Tagitagivalu, Levani Botia, Viliame Mata

Replacements: Tevita Ikanivere, Peni Ravai, Mesake Doge, Temo Mayanavanua, Albert Tuisue, Frank Lomani, Vilimoni Botitu, Vinaya Habosi


How do you best get over heartbreak? Spend long hours listening to your Spotify “Downer” playlist, take four weeks on a hedonistic pursuit of something to fill the yawning chasm inside you, quickly find another partner even though you know it’s not fair to them or you?

Fiji will not be taking any of these options, instead choosing to focus on the (hopefully) less emotionally damaging task of hammering Australia. The victory vs Wales may have agonisingly slipped through Semi Radrada’s butterfingers, but there was much in the action of that brilliant match to suggest a Fiji win today – the first against the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup – is well within their, ahem, grasp.

Australia arrive with a comfortable win over a disappointing Georgia in the pocket, but have disruptions aplenty to contend with in the build up, particularly in the front row and the hokey-cokey selection of captain Will Skelton. Even without all this, the kindest way to sum up their whole year thus far is that they have struggled for consistency in both results and performance.

The picture in Pool C could not be better poised, with this game now taking on significance particularly for Simon Raiwalui’s Fiji, who cannot afford to lose both fixtures against their main rivals for progression to the quarters; while Eddie Jones and his Wallabies will want to have the points from this win banked prior to facing Wales next Sunday. It’s also a real possibility that Wales-Australia-Fiji each take a win from this mini round-robin, at which point bonus points will be precious commodities. Expect a few today – a low-scoring affair this will not be.

Settle in, this should be a belter.

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