Fiji player ratings: Josua Tuisova runs Wallabies ragged in epic win for Islanders

Josua Tuisova Fiji v Australia RWC 2023 - Alamy.jpg Credit: Alamy
Josua Tuisova Fiji v Australia RWC 2023 - Alamy.jpg Credit: Alamy

After their 22-15 Rugby World Cup victory against Australia in Saint-Etienne, here’s how the Fiji team performed on Sunday.

15 Ilaisa Droasese: The Fijian Drua full-back was solid at the back and when he found himself in space he did well in running the ball back at the Wallabies. Droasese’s adventurism on attack resulted in a match-high 65 metres gained from three runs. 8

14 Jiuta Wainiqolo: The Toulon flyer looked dangerous with ball in hand as he finished with 36 metres gained from four runs but was forced off the field early in the second half with a leg injury, with Vinaya Habosi coming on to replace him. 7

Impressive leadership

13 Waisea Nayacalevu (c): The Flying Fijians’ captain led his troops superbly as he impressed with his decision-making under pressure and also caught the eye with some fine line breaks and a superb defensive effort. 8

12 Josua Tuisova: Got a gift of a try from the Wallabies early in the second half but apart from that, the decision to bring him in to the run-on side at inside centre paid off as he was named as the official man of the match. Ran hard as he gained 61 metres from 10 carries, impressed at the breakdowns and in defence where he made nine hits. 9

11 Semi Radradra: Caught napping in the build-up to Australia’s first try midway through the opening period but came back strongly after that. Radradra showed his class as he gained 45 metres from seven runs and also impressed at the breakdowns, winning a crucial penalty in the game’s latter stages. 8

10 Teti Tela: The Fijian Drua playmaker was more of a link as Tuisova and Nayacalevu did most of the playmaking but he impressed with some crucial touch-finders, especially in the second half. 6

9 Simione Kuruvoli: The 24-year came to the fore with an excellent goal-kicking performance as he slotted four penalties which gave his side a deserved half-time lead. He also looked lively on attack as he gained 25 metres from three runs before being replaced by Frank Lomani after 47 minutes. 8

8 Viliame Mata: The Edinburgh number eight was in the thick of the action from the outset as he did his bit as a ball carrier and finished with 21 metres gained from seven carries. 7

Outstanding all-round performance

7 Levani Botia: The La Rochelle stalwart came into the run-on side and delivered an outstanding all-round performance during a 58-minute stint on the field. He competed relentlessly at the breakdowns and did well to slow down the Wallabies’ ball. Also put in some big hits on defence and finished with a match-high 14 hits. 9

6 Lekima Tagitagivalu: Combined well with Mata and Botia as he also impressed at the breakdowns and gave his all with ball in hand, although he made little headway in that department. 7

5 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta: He did not impress in his primary function at the lineouts as the Wallabies ruled the roost in that department but he put in a huge effort on defence and finished with nine tackles made. 7

4 Isoa Nasilasila: Like his second-row partner, Nasilasila came off second best in the lineouts but he made up for that with his defensive work as he also made nine hits. 7

3 Luke Tagi: He was on the field for 51 minutes but emptied the tank during that period as he put in a solid scrummaging display while also doing well on defence. 7

2 Sam Matavesi: The Northampton Saint will be unhappy that the Fiji lineout didn’t function properly while he was part of the action but apart from that he was solid in other areas. Replaced by Tevita Ikanivere in the 51st minute. 6

1 Eroni Mawi: Like the rest of the front-row, Mawi was on the field for 51 minutes but during that time he caught the eye with an excellent display. He stood up well in the scrums and put in a defensive shift where he made eight hits. 8

Replacements: The likes of Tuisova, Kuruvoli and Botia were at the forefront of Fiji’s victory and all three were replaced in the second half. Although the players who replaced them did not reach the same heights, they did enough to help their team over the line. It was a similar story with other replacements, who also delivered solid performances. 7

READ MORE: Fiji claim famous win over the Wallabies to throw Pool C wide open

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