(photos to come)
Fiji overcame a lackluster start to oust South Africa 21-15 in the consolation match.
South Africa’s Frankie Horne scored first, calming the raucous Fiji supporters. Branco du Preez missed the conversion.
In the fifth-minute, Fiji took the lead by quick-tapping a South African penalty. Nemani Nagusa drew a pair of defenders off of the penalty, and Setefano Cakau scored after taking the offload.
Fiji gathered the restart after it bounced high off of the Sam Boyd turf, setting up Cakau’s second try, pushing the island nation ahead 14-5.
Fiji was carded in extra time of the first half for a dangerous tackle, and South Africa switched field off of the stoppage. Cornal Hendricks advanced the ball, and Stephen Dippenaar finished the drive with a try in the corner. The conversion was again missed, bringing the Springboks to within two conversions at halftime.
South Africa took advantage of the one-man advantage to start the second half, as well as the referee’s apparently new-found focus on Fiji’s hard tackles. Back-to-back penalties gave du Preez the space to threaten the Fiji goal line, and he deftly slipped the ball to Cecil Afrika for the score.
Fiji, down 15-14, didn’t quit. Waisea Nayacalevu caught South Africa’s defense flat-footed and sprinted right past du Preez for the go-ahead score. Talebula converted, making it 21-15 Fiji. That’s how it ended, with Talebula’s three conversions to du Preez’s none being the difference.