Back-to-back defeats at the hands of Australia and Uruguay had left Fiji bottom of Pool D but a bonus-point victory over Georgia boosted their hopes of a top-three finish that would guarantee automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
Winger Semi Radradra was the star of the show, helping create his side’s first three tries before going on to claim two of his own as Fiji cut loose with 28 points in the last 20 minutes of the match at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka.
Fresh from a 33-7 win over Uruguay, Georgia rattled the Pacific Islanders with their physicality and a penalty from Soso Matiashvili kept them in touch by half-time, when they trailed 7-3.
Fiji, unhinged by the difficult handling conditions caused by pouring rain, scored their only try of the first half through centre Waisea Nayacalevu.
They extended their lead within four minutes of the re-start when scrum-half Frank Lomani finished off Radradra’s touchline break and the left winger was again heavily involved as right winger Josua Tuisova finished off a classic crossfield passing move to make it 17-3.
A try from a driving maul by veteran Mamuka Gorgadze briefly gave the Georgians renewed hope but that was extinguished on the hour when Radradra scored a deserved try that brought up the bonus point.
The Islanders then cut loose, scoring three further tries in the last 12 minutes through openside flanker Semi Kunatani, replacement Api Ratuniyarawa and Radradra, with Ben Volavola taking his goal tally to five.
Defence Coach Andy Farrell has called on Ireland to channel the spirit of England’s 2007 World Cup run to turn their Japanese quest on its head.
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