Player Ratings: Fiji
OPINION: The Fijians opened their World Cup against Wales in Bordeaux with a 26-32 loss that went right down to the wire.
Fiji climbed back from 0-8 down to take a 14-8 lead midway through the first half but couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities in a wild game that see-sawed between the two sides.
Wales looked to fight fire with fire and matched Fiji’s enterprise with brilliant counter-attacking rugby of their own. They looked to have the game sealed before a furious comeback by Fiji that just fell short.
Check out how Fiji’s players rated.
1 Eroni Mawi – 6
Was judged to have dropped the ball diving over the line after many phases of pick and goes by the Fijian pack. The Fijian scrum held up well against Wales early. They had stable ball on their own feeds and didn’t look in trouble against the feed. Off at 57.
Mauls: The first attacking maul was nearly put over the sideline as the Welsh pack remained strong. Second maul was stopped. Their maul defence caved late in the second half after a yellow card to openside Tagitagivalu. Overall a mixed bag, some good, some bad.
2 Sam Matavesi – 6
Lead from the front in close as part of a resilient Fijian defence. Finished with equal most tackles. The goal line D was exceptional in the first half. His lineout throwing was on the money. The pack held strong in the scrums and dominated the gain line for the most part.
3 Luke Tagi – 6
Had a good offload early and strong carrying up front. Got through a high tackle count for a prop and maintained a high work rate, anchored a solid set-piece.
4 Isoa Nasilasila – 5
Early clean-out work as Fiji’s power game fired into life. Gave away a bad penalty 15 seconds into the second half, but got a break when Biggar missed his penalty. Finished with 6 carries.
5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta – 6
Took on the off-the-ball work with plenty of cleaning. Had three carries and was equal top tackler for Fiji with seven.
6 Albert Tuisue – 6
The first carry didn’t go too well with Wales winning a penalty. Made a great cover tackle after George North’s break. Carried hard but a had few turnovers. Finished with seven tackles.
7 Lekima Tagitagivalu – 5
Another powerful carry option who had a fantastic leg drive. In combination with Mata the Fijian loose forwards made plenty of gain line. Finished off a brilliant Fiji try after Radradra break. Unfortunately took a yellow card for a collapsed maul in the second half.
8 Viliame Mata – 8
The big No 8 brought size and power, with big carries and folded centre Nick Tompkins at one point with a big tackle. Was the engine of the Fijian pack. Took some brutal carries returning goal-line drop outs.
9 Frank Lomani – 7
Good quick ball from the base early and on target. His service and pass was exceptional. He took off from the ruck well and threatened defenders in close. Took the conversions when he was on.
10 Teti Tela – 6
Provided a great touchfinder into the corner early. The restarts were very accurate, but his first penalty was a bad miss from long range. Tela ran Fiji’s patterns well and had very good distribution. Missed a crossfield kick opportunity to Radradra under advantage. Missed the conversions when Lomani went off which hurt.
11 Vinaya Habosi – 4
Good first take under the high ball to win back possession. The explosive pace looked dangerous. Coughed up a costly ball running under Lomani on an early attacking possession. Gave away a key penalty for a dangerous tackle on Liam Williams. Had a great cover tackle on Louis Rees-Zammit to save a try but missed a cross-kick moments later. Off at 52. He will have better Tests for Fiji, tried hard but execution lacking with three turnovers.
12 Semi Radradra – 4
It was a mixed night for the superstar which ended in heartbreak. He had a big miss on George North from the first midfield attacking lineout which led to Wales’ first try, but got his own back with a try assist and a big line break off a Fijian midfield scrum. Forced a ruck penalty on halfway shortly afterwards.
Made a bad read biting in on Tompkins which let North in for another try after the Fijian pack had stood up on the goal line. On attack he carried a lot and demonstrated his power, but the combinations with his outsides weren’t completely there. Moved to the wing for the final half hour. Missed the opportunity to score the game-winning try with an open line begging.
13 Waisea Nayacalevu – 6
Burst into the game with an incredible run through the Welsh defence to score Fiji’s first try. Immediately became creator to find Radradra with a majestic offload for Fiji’s second as they went bang-bang in the space of a few minutes. Went quiet after that and didn’t get any more ball in Fiji’s attack. A massive shame for the quality centre as he showed his class in the first half.
14 Selestino Ravutaumada – 5
Had a great bat back to get Fiji the ball after North’s try from the kick restart. Was beaten one-on-one by Josh Adams unfortunately isolated out wide. Had a high shot on halfback Gareth Davies covering the kick which was big moment with Fiji having a penalty in range reversed. Had three breaks but they were all covered quickly.
15 Ilaisa Droasese – 6
Injected into the line with promise and always looked like breaking through. Was safe at the back, covering kicks well and diffusing bombs. Hardly put a foot wrong in a very clinical performance. Finished with top running metres for Fiji with 128.
16 Tevita Ikanivere – N/A
The Fijian reserve forwards came on and dominated the scrum and continued the power onslaught with their carries.
17 Peni Ravai – 8
Immediately came in with fire and tried a couple of big shorts. Incredible power with ball-in-hand and made 9 carries in his cameo. Was rewarded with a barge over try minutes from the end.
18 Mesake Doge – 5
Injected himself with some strong carries.
19 Temo Mayanavanua – N/A
On at 69 mins.
20 Levani Botia – 5
The veteran crashed over but was held up at a key moment with Fiji trying close the gap to 4 points.
21 Simione Kuruvoli – N/A
Brought physical defence off the bench.
22 Josua Tuisova – 7
Came in for Radradra and brought plenty of energy looking for the ball. Carried over Jac Morgan with his first touch. Crashed over for Fiji’s third try after the Fiji forwards bent the line. Finished with 5 defenders beaten in a solid cameo.
23 Sireli Maqala – N/A
On in 74th.