BORDEAUX, France - Relieved Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui said he was delighted that the Pacific islanders had rediscovered the discipline that has made them such a force this year in the second half of their World Cup clash against Georgia on Saturday.
The Fijians rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to win 17-12 at Stade de Bordeaux and put one foot in the World Cup knockout stages with only a losing bonus point required from their final match against Portugal.
After eschewing the most excessive flamboyance of island rugby to take Wales close and beat Australia in their first two Pool C matches, Fiji were sloppy and inaccurate in the first 40 minutes against a Georgia side happy to take advantage.
"We were put to the sword in the first half. It was because of a great Georgia team and we've got to be better there," Raiwalui said.
"If we're being honest, we were beaten to the punch. They came out and they were firing and we were probably lucky to be only down by nine points."
Raiwalui's halftime talk obviously had an impact and Fiji came out in the second half with renewed focus, playing a territorial kicking game and building pressure before releasing their backs.
Tries from skipper Waisea Nayacalevu and winger Vinaya Habosi as well as seven points from the boot of Frank Lomani just about got them across the line, although the Georgians were pressing for a match-winning try with the last play of the game.
"It was a bit of a journey. It was a bit of getting back to the basics," Raiwalui said.
"We turned over too much ball in contact and we weren't respecting the ball in play, we just gave too many opportunities away.
"But we came back and we rectified a few things and we got it together. It was really tight to the end so happy to get that win."
The victory was a sixth in eight tests for Fiji this season, including wins over Japan, England and Australia, and skipper Nayacalevu said there was no doubt the team possessed one important quality.
"We didn't let go," he said. "We kept on fighting. I told the boys, 'It's going to be hard, we have to keep on fighting. Keep on fighting right until the end, 80 minutes'." REUTERS