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What the Wallabies did to Georgia that has Fiji worried

By Chris Jones
Will Skelton of Australia looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Australia and Georgia at Stade de France on September 09, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Fiji forwards coach Brad Harris has warned his pack they have to negate the “brutality” of Australia who proved they have a world-class forward unit after dominating Georgia up front in their opening pool victory.

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Fiji must win this match, following their narrow loss to Wales, to keep their hopes of a quarter-final place alive and Harris has painted a clear picture of what will be required on Sunday in St Etienne saying the game will deliver a “dingdong battle up front.”

Harris, who will join Melbourne Rebels after the World Cup, said: “I think it’s their (Australia) combination of brutality and good size of their ball carriers. I think there are four or five really dominant ball carriers that they look to use to get their go-forward game going.

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“I thought that their maul defence was good against a strong Georgia team who tried to maul a fair bit. Obviously, I thought the Australian scrum got on top of the Georgian team as well, which is an amazing feat in terms of the strength of the Georgian pack side.

“Look, we’re aware of the strengths that they’ll bring to their game but we’re also aware of the skill sets of our boys and the power and the aggression that we can bring to the game.

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“So, it’s going to be a dingdong battle up front. But I wouldn’t swap our boys for anyone. We’d like them to get on there and get that stopped up. I think we’ve got to look internally at ourselves as well. I think that if we sharpen up on our completion when we enter their 22, and we score a couple of those tries, then referee doesn’t become an issue at all,” Harris said.

“So, what we’re focusing on this week is tidying up our performance, making sure that when we don’t have the ball, we’re nice and disciplined about our tackle height and making really good decisions at the offensive breakdown.

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“And if we paint those good pictures, then hopefully we can apply some pressure when we’ve got the ball. Hopefully the penalty count will be in our favour and we can come out on top.”

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