Australia vs Fiji RWC 2015 match report: David Pocock double leads Wallabies to victory but bonus point goes begging

Australia 28 Fiji 13

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Bernard Foley’s third penalty on 69 minutes provided the final points of the game. They were not decisive, but the decision to kick for them might yet be.

With 35 minutes to go and three tries already on the board against a team who should have been a class beneath Australia and simply had not been allowed sufficient rest, that crucial four-try bonus point seemed inevitable. But it never came, and the cost of that might yet be ruinous.

“Look I’m new to Test footie, to international rugby,” said Australia’s coach, Michael Cheika. “For me, winning the Test match is all you need to do and then go on to the next one. I’m not counting points. What I do know is if you lose a game, you’ll be in strife. Look at the teams that are in it. ”

 

 

 

It was a refreshingly honest, and rather Australian, explanation. But was it naive?  If England, Wales and Australia all manage one win against each other in this much discussed “pool of death”, bonus points are what it will come down to.

“That we went for goal then, at the end, that showed how much respect that we have for our opposition. 

“It’s unfortunate that a couple of the teams in this group will miss out. I preach to my team about being humble. I don’t think, going into a match against a team like Fiji, you should be thinking, ‘We’re going to get a bonus point.’ Especially when you look at what England had to do to last week to get one.”

David Pocock was the difference, with two tries in quick succession before half-time, one from the base of a line-out drive that simply could not be stopped. And for the other, he crashed at the feet of the last line of Fijian defence, forcing the ball on to the line.

A third try, early in the second half, made a full on demolition job, but it never materialised.

Beneath the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium, the wind and rain and the greasy ball that always threaten to strip the flair out of southern hemisphere rugby, and which many of its proponents have claimed might define the tournament, were eliminated from consideration.

Fiji should have been exhausted, five days on from facing England at Twickenham. But they never surrendered. In fact, they improved as the game wore on. 

In a more favourable pool, Fiji would certainly have made the quarter-finals and thoroughly merited being there, which is all but impossible now. 

Ben Volavola at fly-half kicked with as much cool-headed courage as he did precision, and could not more have deserved his entirely self-made try under the posts.

The Pacific islanders will be proud of their achievements, which should have amounted to more. Have Australia surrendered control of their fate? No, of course not. But the looks on their faces as they clapped the crowds out of the exits said it all. It was not meant to be this way.

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