The Flying Fijians staged a strong second half comeback to beat Georgia 17-12 in their third Pool C match of the Rugby World Cup in France today and keep their quarterfinal chances intact.
Entering the pitch with the aim of securing a bonus point victory, the Fijians were handed a reality check by their more focused and organised opponents.
Both sides made handling errors and Fiji’s lineouts were a complete disaster in the opening stanza.
Georgia moved the ball with more fluency and was rewarded on the scoreboard with three penalties, including a mammoth kick from inside their own half by Davit Niniashvili.
They should have scored the first try but Tornike Jalagonia threw a disappointing forward pass to Akaki Tabutsadze to deny the wing as they led 9-0 at the break.
Fiji lost Semi Radradra to a yellow card and despite having a man short on the field, they powered through and scored their first try through Captain Waisea Nayacalevu.
Replacement scrumhalf Frank Lomani successfully converted to narrow the scores before missing a penalty which could have put them ahead.
Relentless pressure from the Fijians and a superb effort from Levani Botia which saw him drag four defenders created the opportunity for the second try which was beautifully dotted down by substitute winger Vinaya Habosi.
Lomani converted successfully and then kicked a penalty four minutes later to open up an eight point lead.
Georgia applied the pressure in the last few minutes of the match and a successful penalty from Luka Matkava earned them a losing bonus point but defeat means they cannot reach the last eight.
Centre Josua Tuisova was sent to the sin bin late on for making direct contact with the head of Miriani Modebadze in an upright tackle.
Fiji remains second behind leaders Wales and will seal its place in the last eight if it beats winless Portugal in its final pool game next Monday.