Fiji were below par but came from behind to beat Georgia 17-12 on Saturday and stay on course for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals, 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 halftime 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 quarterfinal 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. – SuperSport