Fiji signs the first feat of this World Cup by triumphing against Australia, 22-15. Starting at center, Josua Tuisova was valuable both in attack and defense, delivering a huge match. Quite the opposite of Australia’s opener Carter Gordon, once again the author of an incomplete performance…
Tuisova made Tuisova against the Australians ! On the bench against Wales, the future Racing 92 player was aligned in the center with Waisea Nayacalevu, shifting Semi Radradra onto the wing. And he did damage. Very regularly called upon, he constantly pushed his team forward. If he always concentrated several defenders, this hardly bothered him. He was also opportunistic, recovering a ball that was lying around to score the test of his own. At the hour mark, he scored two very, very hot balls in his 22 meters. At its expense, a jump in touch annihilating a surplus, in the second half. A try would surely have condemned the Australians… But Tuisova is in great form, beating five defenders and covering 61 meters with the ball in his hands. Man of the match!
Fijians winning with just one try on the clock was unthinkable, before they finally found a reliable scorer! If Simione Kuruvoli had been a starter against the Welsh, could the Fijians have won? Perhaps, because he did not tremble in front of the poles, unlike the opener Titi Tela against the XV du Poireau. He scored all twelve points for his team in the first act. He successfully transformed Josua Tuisova’s try, although in a corner, to score a 100% on the foot. In the game, his kicking game was also fair, like that leading to the Fijian try. Left injured, to the applause of Geoffroy-Guichard, let’s hope for the Fijians that he recovers quickly if they want to reach the quarter-finals!
It was not easy to bring out a top player from this very, very disappointing Wallabies team. Australia’s only try came from an inspiration from their number 14, of… Fijian origin ! He quickly played a 50-22 with Jordan Petaia, who returned the ball to him so that the winger could land in the opposing goal. This is one of the rare flashes in a rather insipid Australian performance. As usual, the Waratahs player was comfortable under high balls.
The Wallabies fly-half has cut his mullet since his warm-up match against France. But his performances did not improve… Highly criticized in his homeland, the opener was kept in the starting position at all costs by Eddie Jones, which earned the Wallabies coach heated exchanges with Australian journalists. In the first half, he sent a kick obviously well felt in a dead ball, committed a crude forward on a restart which was nevertheless judicious and found a very small touch, not clearing his camp, while the Fijians were on a high.
As if that wasn’t enough, on Josua Tuisova’s try, he is at fault. He jumped away from the ball, disrupting his partners and allowing the center to grab the ball and score. Replaced from 51ehe may have lost his immunity totem…
Scheduled as a replacement, the Toulouse second line was started at the last minute, after Will Skelton’s package, hit in one leg. And he didn’t show off… On the first try, he seemed to play the ball on the ground and could (should?) have been penalized. But hey, didn’t see it, didn’t take it. On the other hand, his tackle without the ball was seen and cost his team three points. With six tackles and three misses, he did not shine in defense…
The succession of Caleb Muntz, injured in the knee and withdrawn, is difficult to ensure for his understudy in the selection as well as in club, at the Fijian Drua. Not very prominent in the game, Titi Tela sometimes struggled to dictate the tempo of his people. Which can sometimes be detrimental to the Flying Fijians, who, as we know, have no equal when it comes to launching into an unpredictable and random game! In comparison, Caleb Muntz knew how to manage the strong moments and the weak moments of his selection during the already historic victory in England during the preparation match. He also didn’t help his scrum-halves in the kicking game in the running game.