Player Ratings: Fiji
OPINION: Fiji very nearly lost against Georgia at the Stade Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux in a contest which saw the Islanders look worryingly unfocused, profligate and frankly irrational at times.
Admittedly, this was always going to be a tricky one for Fiji, with Georgia’s forward-based game and a heretofore unsated appetite to make an impact at this World Cup where – if we’re being honest – they’ve underperformed.
Yet even in that context, Fiji seemed to have lost the structure and focus that saw them beat Australia and run Wales close earlier in the pool stages.
The Lelos deserve huge credit – yes – but simply put, if Fiji plays like this again, they can forget about shocking the big boys in the knockout stages.
How the Fijian players rated:
15 Teti Tela – 5
Tela managed the backfield relatively effectively and linked up well with his wingers, though he gave away too many turnovers to get anything like a good score. Some odd decision-making at times as well.
14 Semi Radradra – 4
Playing on the wing as opposed to his normal spot in the centre, Radradra was all but anonymous in the first half bare a couple of half breaks. Did his best to get sent off in the second, and partially succeeded with a yellow in the 41st minute.
13 Josua Tuisova – 5
Opened his account with a brilliant turnover after getting over the ball but little did we know that would be the highlight of his performance in Bordeaux. Fumbled the ball a few minutes later with the Georgian line beckoning and thereafter was unable to take the game by the scruff of the neck with a meaningful carry or big play.
12 Waisea Nayacalevu – 7.5
Always making ground when he got the ball, Nayacalevu showed glimpses of his attacking flair but could have been more involved in the game in the first half. A sensational finish to drag Fiji back into the game in the second, in what was a night and day performance for the inspirational captain.
11 Selestino Ravutaumada – 7.5
Ravutaumada was super impressive on the wing, displaying good defensive skills and offering a real strike option for Fiji as a crash ball. The problem was Fiji’s backline were playing like a group of randomers that had just met in the park for a throw-around.
10 Ilaisa Droasese – 4
Fiji needed Droasese to pull the strings at ten but didn’t show much ability to rein in the worst excesses of Fiji’s chaotic approach to the game. Showed brief glimpses in attack but also suffered from defensive lapses.
9 Simione Kuruvoli – 5
A shanked penalty in the 14th minute summed up Fiji’s bizarrely insipid first half. Fumbled with the line beckoning in the 24th minute as the Fijians naively sleep-walked their way into an arm wrestle with the Georgians, instead of taking their points.
1 Eroni Mawi – 6
Mawi got through a tonne of work defensively in the opening minutes and provided stability in the scrum, holding his own against the hulking Beka Gigashvili.
2 Sam Matavesi – 4
Not unlike Ireland’s lineout in the opening exchanges against South Africa in Pool B last weekend, a number of errant throws didn’t Fiji’s cause in the first quarter and most of them were overthrown by Matavesi or in the case of one, crooked. Not good enough and he’ll be kicking himself.
3 Luke Tagi – 8
One of the discoveries of the tournament, Tagi has really put himself in the shop window in terms of his club future. The 6’4, 130kg prop did, however, have his hands full against Georgia’s Mikheil Nariashvili, but held his ground. Was more like a rampaging No.8 in the loose.
4 Isoa Nasilasila – 5
Nasilasila was an unreliable presence in the lineout and didn’t make his presence felt in the loose, offering limited support to his teammates.
5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta – 6
Cirikidaveta was also guilty in Fiji’s dire lineout although he offered physicality and athleticism that disrupted Georgia elsewhere.
6 Lekima Tagitagivalu – 6
One of the better Fijian forwards. Tagitagivalu put in a solid shift in the back row, making valuable tackles and carrying with intent. Another Fjian haunted by unforced errors.
7 Levani Botia – 8
A dreadful first half was followed up with a remarkable second forty for the La Rochelle star. Showed signs of his usual menace at the breakdown in the second half, winning turnovers and no longer looking like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. His offload for Vinaya Habosi’s try was world-class.
8 Viliame Mata – 8
Mata’s athleticism and ball-carrying ability were on full display as he made crucial metres for Fiji, especially in broken play.
16 Tevita Ikanivere – 6
17 Peni Ravai – 7
The scrum improved notably when the Reds prop came on.
18 Samuela Tawake – 7
19 Temo Mayanavanua – 6
Probably an improvement on Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.
20 Albert Tuisue – 7
Added some punch to the Fijian forward ball carries.
21 Frank Lomani – 8
Brought more than a dollop of energy of energy when he came late in the second half, with Fiji badly needing something approaching structure. His awful kick somehow got over it put Fiji in the lead for the first time.
22 Vilimoni Botitu – 7
23 Vinaya Habosi – 7.5
Looked useful when he came on and brought an urgency to the game that was lacking in the first half. His try was crucial.
Source: Rugbypass & PA