Fiji hang on to defeat Wales 38-34
NANTES, 29 September - Fiji withstood a ferocious second-half comeback to edge Wales 38-34 in a thrilling Pool B decider and reach the quarter-finals at Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday.
They now face South Africa next Sunday in Marseille while Wales are eliminated following the pool phase for the third time.
Fiji have reached the quarter-finals on just one occasion, back at the inaugural RWC 1987 in New Zealand.
Graham Dewes was the hero with a try just three minutes from time after Wales came back from 25-3 to lead late into the second half.
Akapui Qera who scored Fji's first try during a 25 point run in 10 first half minutes took a costly yellow card just before half time which allowed Wales to come out strongly after the break and score three tries in ten minutes.
Shane Williams scored his sixth try of the tournament with a dashing run to give Wales the lift they needed on five minutes after the break and Mark Thomas and Mark Jones scored in quick succession as Wales erased the deficit to regain the lead at 29-25.
Fiji picked up their first points of the half with a Nicky Little penalty to pull within a point and then the Fiji number 10 converted his sixth kick from eight attempts to edge his side back in front 31-29.
Martyn Williams then intercepted a stray Fiji pass and raced down the pitch to give Wales a 34-31 lead with just six minutes remaining.
Fiji threw everything forward in search of the winning try and Dewes came to the rescue with the score that was only given after the referee went to the video referee.
Wales had opened the first half scoring with a Stephen Jones penalty but Fiji turned the game on its head with 25 points in 10 minutes which appeared to give them control.
They went in front for the first time on 16 minutes when a drive towards the Welsh line allowed captain Mosese Rauluni to feed Qera to break between two defenders and score under the posts.
Little made no mistake with the conversion and Fiji led 7-3.
Vilimoni Delasau pushed Fjii further in front three minutes later with a spectacular try as he chased down his own kick, which bounced behind the Welsh try-line, and he grabbed the ball out of the air with one hand to score his side's second try.
Little missed the conversion but made amends moments later with two penalties in three minutes as Fiji continued their momentum to lead 18-3.
Fiji's spectacular opening 40 minutes continued with another long break that was only initially held up by the Welsh defence before Kele Leawere barged over the line from close range for their third try of the half.
Wales narrowed the gap to 25-10 after some sustained pressure when Alix Popham went over and James Hook converted.
Then came Qera's costly yellow card for kneeing just on the stroke of half time which allowed Wales to get back in the match.