OSAKA: Winger Semi Radradra scored two of Fiji’s seven tries and made three others as the Pacific islanders finally got a win on the board at the Rugby World Cup with a 45-10 victory over Georgia at a rain-drenched Hanazono Rugby Stadium on Thursday.

While their upset loss to Uruguay following an opening defeat to Australia has all but put paid to their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, Fiji are now in pole position to finish third in pool ‘D’ and qualify for the 2023 World Cup.

Former Australia rugby league international Radradra was at the heart of their best moves and grabbed a brace as well as helping set up scores for centre Waisea Nayacalevu, scrumhalf Frank Lomani and his fellow winger Josua Tuisova. Georgia fought hard throughout and had a try from totemic flanker Mamuka Gorgodze but looked tired towards the end as flanker Semi Kunatani and lock Apisalome Ratuniyarawa crossed to inflate the scoreline.

Meanwhile, Ireland began to resurrect their World Cup campaign after their shock loss to Japan with a scrappy 35-0 bonus-point victory over a stubborn Russia that moved them to the top of pool ‘A’ and strengthened their quarter-final chances.

Ireland have 11 points, while unbeaten Japan (nine) face Samoa (five) in Toyota City on Saturday. Scotland also have five points and play Russia next Wednesday in Shizuoka before ending pool play against the tournament hosts in Yokohama on Oct 13.

Fullback Rob Kearney and loose forwards Peter O’Mahony and Rhys Ruddock scored first half tries for Ireland, but it took until the 62nd minute before wing Andrew Conway crossed for the bonus point that kept them in the hunt for the knockout phase.

The fact Joe Schmidt’s side struggled to put away a limited Russia side, who had Bogdan Fedotoko and Andrey Ostrikov yellow carded either side of halftime, would do little for their fans’ waning hopes they could reach their first semi-final in Japan.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2019