It was a try-scoring bonanza when Fiji went toe-to-toe with Wales for their first-round encounter at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France on Sunday. The Fijians entered the contest as the clear underdogs but showed spectacular fighting spirit with the game on the line.
The Flying Fijians surprised Rugby World Cup fans early on by matching the Welsh's scoring efforts. While the Europeans pounded hard at their opponents' defence with their conventional style of rugby, the Oceanians countered fiercely with their trademark brand of running rugby and abundance of chicken-wing offloads.
However, excessive handling errors by Fiji saw Wales pull away shortly after half-time. The Dragons' conventional consistency played a key part in them building up a strong cushion. That eventually proved to be even more crucial than they would've imagined.
The Flying Fijians' famously loose product of rugby turned out to be a thorn in their own flesh, as they narrowly missed out on many goalline opportunities. In at least two instances, they were millimeters away from grounding the ball for a try but lost control.
Watch the captivating highlights here:
Wales vs Fiji: A Hollywood ending to a spectacle of a Rugby World Cup game
In the end, it all boiled down to Fiji's famous comeback spirit in the dying minutes. They were down a whopping 18 points at 32-14 with less than eight minutes to go, when Josua Tuisova crashed over for a try near the posts. After the 2-point conversion, the Oceanians were dabbling on the edge of striking range at 32-21.
Fans in the stands were visibly taken aback when the Flying Fijians again ran it back to the Dragons with another unbelievable try. Although they missed the conversion attempt, they were miraculously within striking range at 32-26.
Subsequently, it all came down to a single moment after the siren went, when the men in white were a mere six meters from Wales' goalline. The crowd collectively held their breath as a ball out behind the forward pack went wide, with a skip pass to Semi Radradra waiting on the wing with an overlap.
However, in a split second when his eyes were likely on the charging opposition instead of the ball, Radradra knocked it on and so too fumbled the game away.
It was a tense finale to an underrated Rugby World Cup clash, and best of all, this was only Round 1.
For more rugby news, read: Rugby World Cup Masterclass: 3 Reasons the Roses kicked down the door on Argentina in RWC Round 1