Australia beat Fiji 39-21 in first Pool D match
2019-09-21 at 12:50
Australia survived an almighty scare from Fiji, turning a half-time deficit into a 39-21 win in their first Rugby World Cup match today.
The Wallabies had a stalling start to the game, trailing 14-12 at the break, but an energised Will Genia and a powerful set piece ultimately changed the game for Australia in a 27-point second half.
Australia’s victory puts them on track for a quarter-final berth, setting up a likely shootout for top spot against Wales in Tokyo next weekend.
Fiji sprinted out to an 8-0 lead after just eight minutes, steamrolling Australian defenders and stopping Australian attackers along the way with their sheer size and pace.
Fiji put early pressure on the Wallabies, earning a fifth-minute penalty that was duly slotted by Ben Volavola.
It took until the 18th minute for the Wallabies to score, through Michael Hooper, finishing off a dominant scrum to score under the posts.
Australia went into the half-time looking as if they were building their way back into the game, but it didn’t take long for them to.
Two consecutive wayward lineouts were a troubling sign for the Wallabies, but it ultimately proved to be the final.
Hodge took over the kicking duties for a relatively straightforward penalty attempt, narrowing the margin back to just six points with half an hour.
Frustration began to get the better of the Fijians, with a warning turning into a yellow card in the 61st minute, and all of a sudden Latu was over again and the Wallabies were well and truly in control.
Fiji tried desperately to clinch a final score, and a possible losing bonus point, but eventually their efforts ran dry.