Fiji 23-24 Portugal: England quarter-final and Australia elimination confirmed despite shock Rugby World Cup result
Fiji's victory means they will now face England in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup in Marseille on Sunday October 15 at 4pm (BST); the result also confirms Australia's exit at the pool stage for the first time in their history
Last Updated: 08/10/23 10:33pm
Fiji confirmed a Rugby World Cup quarter-final with England - and the elimination of Australia - despite a shock 24-23 loss to Portugal in Toulouse on Sunday evening.
Rodrigo Marta's 78th-minute try was converted by Samuel Marques to make history for Portugal, who were playing in only their second World Cup.
Raffaele Storti (45) and Francisco Fernandes (51) had crossed earlier for Portugal, but scores from Levani Botia (48) and Mesake Doge (68) plus three penalties from Frank Lomani looked to have given Fiji the win before Marta produced one of the great World Cup shocks.
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Fiji picked up a losing bonus point which means they finish Pool C locked on 11 points with Australia, but progress to the last eight courtesy of their victory over Eddie Jones' side earlier in the competition.
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After a scrappy first half ended 3-3, the game came to life in the second half with Portugal seizing the initiative.
The underdogs got the first try in the 45th minute when the impressive Storti, who narrowly missed a try in the first half, chased down a kick into the corner from Pedro Bettencourt and stretched to touch down, with Marques kicking the conversion.
That fired Fiji into life and just three minutes later Botia replied with a powerful run before Lomani levelled the scores with the extras.
But Botia was then sent to the sin bin for making head contact and Portugal were quick to make Fiji pay as they powered their way over the line with Fernandes touching down, Marques making it 17-10.
Fiji responded once more, working the ball out for Doge to go over before Lomani tied the scores, and they looked on course for victory as Lomani kicked a couple of penalties in the last 10 minutes to put Fiji 23-17 up.
But there was one last bit of drama as Storti raced towards the line and then fed Marta to finish it off in the 78th minute, with Marques splitting the posts to give Portugal a shock win.
Portugal's players and fans celebrated wildly, as Fiji's players slumped to the turf in frustration, but they can look forward to a quarter-final appearance after sending Australia out at the pool stage for the first time in World Cup history.
Confirmed Rugby World Cup quarter-finals
- Wales vs Argentina - Saturday, 4pm, Marseille
- Ireland vs New Zealand - Saturday, 8pm, Paris
- England vs Fiji - Sunday, 4pm, Marseille
- France vs South Africa - Sunday, 8pm, Paris
Tonga 54-24 Romania
Earlier on Sunday, Tonga beat Romania 45-24 in the final game in Pool B, which also featured Ireland, South Africa and Scotland.
The teams came into the Lille clash without a point between them but the Pacific Islanders finished strongly to ensure they exited the competition with a win.
Although Alin Conache missed an early penalty for Romania, Tonga started with purpose and were rewarded through tries from Solomone Kata and George Moala, the latter of which was converted by William Havili.
Conache kicked a penalty to make it 14-3 to Tonga after 20 minutes but Afusipa Taumoepeau went over soon after and Havili again converted.
However, Romania scored a try of their own in the 31st minute when Cristi Boboc touched down after a well worked lineout. Conache converted to reduce the deficit to 11 points.
After Tonga's Leva Fifita was shown yellow for a shoulder charge, Romania used the extra man to score again.
Florin Surugiu, in his last international game before retiring, broke away after a scrum and evaded the defenders to cross the whitewash. Conache again converted and the deficit was just four points.
Ten minutes after the turnaround Tonga had breathing space when Sione Vailanu's try was converted by Havili.
However, battling Romania responded well with a try from Marius Simionescu. Conache again added the extras and the gap was down to four points again.
That was as good as it got for them though, as Pita Ahki crossed for a try which Havili again converted with 18 minutes remaining.
Four minutes later Kata had his second try and, after Conache had been sin-binned, Kyren Taumoefolau got Tonga's seventh try to round off the scoring in an entertaining contest.
Fiji will now face England in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup in Marseille on Sunday October 15 at 4pm (BST), while Portugal exit the competition despite their famous victory.
The other Rugby World Cup quarter-finals are already confirmed as Wales v Argentina (Saturday, 4pm); Ireland v New Zealand (Saturday, 8pm) and France v South Africa (Sunday, 8pm).