Fiji target last eight at Rugby World Cup as Scots set up Ireland showdown
Fiji were below par but came from behind to beat Georgia 17-12 on Saturday and stay on course for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, a result that pushed Australia closer to a historic elimination.
Scotland also kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages by running in 12 tries in a hopelessly one-sided 84-0 bonus-point win against Romania, while Argentina also stayed in contention by defeating Chile.
In Bordeaux, Fiji could have condemned two-time champions Australia to a group-stage exit for the first time in their history if the Pacific Islanders had scored four tries and picked up a bonus point against Georgia.
But the Fijians seemed beset by nerves in an error-strewn first half in which they conceded penalties, dropped the ball repeatedly and paid the price for their high-risk passing attack.
Their ill-discipline left Georgia 9-0 ahead at half-time but the Fijians gradually hauled themselves back into the game in the second half.
Waisea Nayacalevu scored the game's opening try in the second half before Levani Botia barrelled into the Georgian line and then flipped a sublime pass to substitute Vinaya Habosi who tore though a huge hole to score the second try.
"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," said Botia.
Frank Lomani contributed seven points with the boot as Fiji moved a step closer to a first quarter-final since 2007.
"If I am being honest we were beaten to the punch in the first half. We knew it was going to be a battle. I am just thankful we have the result," said Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui.
The lack of a Fijian bonus point left Eddie Jones' Australia side with a glimmer of hope.
The Wallabies were plunged into difficulty by a 22-15 defeat to Fiji earlier in the pool games.
Australia and Fiji both face Portugal in their final games.
Australia need to pick up a bonus-point win and hope Fiji lose without a point. Even Portugal could sneak in with two remarkable, but seemingly unlikely victories.
- Scottish tries galore -
Scotland were rampant against Romania and Darcy Graham ran in four tries of his own in Lille as the Scots set up a Pool B showdown against Ireland next Saturday.
They will need victory at the Stade de France to at least finish on the same number of points as Ireland, who were hugely impressive in beating reigning champions South Africa last week.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend made 13 changes to his team and said the way the players who came in had performed against Romania augured well for the clash against the Irish.
"We'll sit down tomorrow and discuss selection, but this gives us really good momentum ahead of our biggest game of the World Cup," he said.
"It's a real credit to the 23 tonight and sets up whoever plays against Ireland with a lot of positivity."
Romania's inclusion in the tournament as late replacements for Spain, who were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in qualifying, has only served to illustrate the gulf between the world's top teams and the also-rans.
They have scored just eight points and conceded 242.
Argentina set up a winner-takes-all match against Japan next Saturday for a place in the quarter-finals as fly-half Nicolas Sanchez marked his 100th appearance by scoring 20 points in the 59-5 defeat of Chile in Nantes.
Sanchez, 34, produced a perfect goal-kicking display and a try.
The winners of the Pumas' match with Japan are likely to face Wales in the last eight.
Argentina head coach Michael Cheika said the Japanese would pose a major hurdle.
"They are a great team, they are quarter-finalists from the last World Cup and we're not, so we're very hungry to be in that position," he said.
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