The Fijians are currently ranked 10th in the world, and are poised to usurp both France – who currently sit eighth – and Argentina after the result.
Fiji flanker Peceli Yato, who plies his trade with Top 14 club Clermont, declared after the match that his men “play for our homeland”.
“I’m really proud of the boys and really proud of the family” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sport. “This win this afternoon is for the people back in Fiji.”
Fiji had lost all of their previous nine encounters against Les Bleus, their last match up coming in 2014, but a sublime showing brought a stunned silence to the Stade de France.
The visitors trailed by two points at the break despite scores from Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova, as Guilhem Guirado touched down twice from driving mauls for the hosts, who had won all of their previous six home matches against Fiji without conceding a first-half try.
A second-half onslaught failed to materialise from France, though, and three penalties from Ben Volavola secured a famous Fiji win.
FULL TIME | In the most epic match ever, Fiji has earnt an historical victory over France for the FIRST time in 10 outings. Final score FRA 14 – FIJ 21.
The defensive effort and the heart showing across this enormous match was simply sensational We are so proud of you pic.twitter.com/EihojkLnHK
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) November 24, 2018
Radradra blitzed through the France defence for the opening try and Tuisova dived over in the right corner following more great Fiji play after Guirado had responded for France.
Vereniki Goneva was denied a brilliant breakaway score down the left flank after it was ruled Radradra was offside, and Guirado’s second on the stroke of half-time had France in front at the break.
But Volavola kicked two penalties either side of Tuisova seeing a try ruled out from Leone Nakarawa’s outrageous offload due to a late tackle from Campese Ma’afu in the build-up.
And Volavola added another three points with the last kick of the game to compound a miserable evening for France, who won one of their three November internationals.
Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo, who didn’t feature for the side in the victory, sent an emotional tweet after the match expressing his pride in the team.
Can’t hold back my tears.da lads who played 2nite 4 Fiji 4 next to nothing against a team full of riches and win is something we as “tier 2 nation” can dream of.Yes Politics and other nonsense affect us but u put 23 passionate village kids together, we can conquer the world ??
— nemzy (@nemani_nadolo) November 24, 2018
Ten of Fiji’s matchday 23 ply their trade in the French Top 14, and four of the players were sourced from the championship-winning Fijian Drua side that compete in the Australian National Rugby Championship.
France coach Jacques Brunel conceded after the match that his team were well beaten, and that Fiji were “stronger physically than us in the duel.”
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.