“The Flying Fijians end sixty-nine years of drought against Australia and maintain their Rugby World Cup hopes,” relishes the online media Fiji Live. Sunday September 17, in Saint-Etienne, “in a double or nothing match”, the Fijians defeated the Wallabies (22-15) to claim their first victory against their Pacific neighbors since 1954.
At the same time, continues Fiji Live journalist Noa Biudole, they are relaunching their race to qualify for the quarter-finals of the French World Cup, despite their inaugural defeat against Wales on September 10 (32-26). .
In Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald sends its “deepest congratulations” to the “mighty Fijians”, who are inflicting “historic humiliation” on the Australians. “It’s an excellent result for world rugby,” relishes the centre-left daily’s columnist, Peter FitzSimons. “The Fijian victory against England, a month ago, was not a coincidence,” insists the journalist, who believes that “the World Cups are no longer the business of the Six Nations Tournament teams, more South Africa, New Zealand and Australia”: “At the top of their game, you get the feeling that Fiji can beat anyone. »
According to Peter FitzSimons, the two opposing teams on Sunday on the pitch at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium simply did not play the same sport: “While the Wallabies simply developed a very banal rugby, the Fijians offered something completely different. They often switched to rugby sevens, constantly supporting each other and covering the pitch extraordinarily (…). Sometimes they played basketball, passing the ball to each other with blinding dexterity. (…) Regarding the kicking duels, they seemed to send the ball three or four meters further [than their opponents]. »
“The Wallabies’ dismal performance”
The Wallabies have been neutralized, continues the daily The Fiji Times. Every time the Australians approached the Fijian 22 meter zone, center Josua Tuisova, voted man of the match, “managed to grab the ball and save his team”.
And even if "the pressure was at its peak as the last ten minutes approached", recalls Fiji Live, the players of coach Simon Raiwalui - born in New Zealand and well known in French rugby after his experiences as a player and coach at Racing 92, Stade Français and Biarritz – managed to contain the final Australian assaults.
“The Wallabies’ indiscipline proved costly,” also points out the specialist site The Roar. A week after collecting seven penalties in their first victory against Georgia [35-15, at the Stade de France], the Wallabies conceded 18 penalties. No international team wins with such a record. »
“Ultimately,” summarizes The Sydney Morning Herald, the Fijians’ success was built “on two things: the tremendous valor with which they played and – let’s not beat around the bush – the Wallabies’ dismal performance.”
A state of affairs recognized in a post-match press conference by Australia coach Eddie Jones, who accepted the criticism from the supporters present in Saint-Etienne. “They should throw baguettes and croissants at me. This is all I deserve,” he commented, according to comments relayed by the New Zealand media Stuff.
The Wallabies are now relying on their “artificial respirator”, warns The Roar: they will play a decisive match against Wales on Sunday September 24.