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Fiji stun Australia at Rugby World Cup to throw Pool C wide open

Celebration: Fiji will have their eyes on the World Cup quarter-finals after beating Australia on Sunday  (REUTERS)
Celebration: Fiji will have their eyes on the World Cup quarter-finals after beating Australia on Sunday (REUTERS)

Simione Kuruvoli inspired Fiji as they edged past Australia 22-15 with a fine performance at the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji’s brilliance at the turnover, combined with the clinical boot of Kuruvoli, saw them pick up their first win of the tournament after last week’s defeat by Wales.

Australian full-back Ben Donaldson was opportunistic early on and punished a Fiji high tackle when he converted the first opportunity of the game to give Australia a 3-0 lead after three minutes.

The Pacific Islanders sought a response through scrum-half Kuruvoli, who tied the score before converting another penalty to give his side a 6-3 lead after 20 minutes.

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The first try of the game came in the 22nd minute through Mark Nawaqanitawase. The winger chased the long ball, took a quick line-out and combined with Samu Kerevi before he received the offload to add five more to to Australia’s tally.

But the Wallabies’ hard work started to unravel through ill-discipline and they started to concede needless penalties, much to the delight of Kuruvoli who added six more and the half ended 12-8 in favour of the Fijians.

Fiji extended their lead when Carter Gordon misjudged the bounce of a high ball which invited Josua Tuisov to storm through and make it 19-8 in the 42nd minute.

Suliasi Vunivalu went over late on for Australia after Fiji scored another penalty but it was not enough and they held on to complete a memorable 22-15 victory.