|Fiji: (3) 23|
|Tries: Botia, Doge Cons: Lomani 2 Pens: Lomani 3|
|Portugal: (3) 24|
|Tries: Storti, Fernandes, Marta Cons: Marques 3 Pen: Marques|
Portugal pulled off a Rugby World Cup shock in Toulouse – but a losing bonus point was enough to send Fiji into a quarter-final against England.
The result also confirmed Australia’s exit from the World Cup, making it the first time the Wallabies have ever gone out before the knockout stage.
Fiji required only one point from the match to go through to the last eight.
They were 23-17 up late on, but Rodrigo Marta’s converted try gave Portugal a first World Cup victory.
The Fijians had trailed by seven points on two occasions in the second half, but tries from Levani Botia and Mesake Doge twice brought them level and two Frank Lomani penalties inched them into a winning position – only for Portugal to produce a stunning late twist.
Despite their second loss of the group phase, Fiji are through to meet Pool D winners England in Marseille on Sunday, 15 October (16:00 BST kick-off).
They have recent fond memories of facing Steve Borthwick’s side, having beaten them at Twickenham in August, but both teams will enter the last-eight tie having stuttered late in the pool phase.
As for Portugal, they exit the competition having finally been rewarded for the enterprising brand of rugby that has gained them many admirers.
Fiji stunned by late Portugal try
After struggling for attacking momentum in a first period that yielded one successful penalty apiece, both sides produced moments of brilliance to cross the tryline early in the second half.
Raffaele Storti superbly finished Pedro Bettencourt’s grubber kick to the corner to put Portugal 10-3 ahead.
But Portugal wasted a chance to add to their lead quickly when they turned the ball over inside the Fiji 22, and full-back Sireli Maqala broke immediately to put Fiji in position for Botia to score.
Flanker Botia was soon in the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle and prop Francisco Fernandes powered over from close range to restore Portugal’s seven-point advantage.
A prolonged spell of Fiji pressure ended with Doge burrowing over to level the score once more and Fiji, having previously turned down numerous opportunities to kick points while they trailed, chose a more pragmatic approach as the boot of scrum-half Lomani nudged them in front.
Portugal had missed a late penalty to beat Georgia earlier in the competition, but on this occasion Samuel Marques made no mistake from the tee following Marta’s score, sending Portuguese supporters, players and staff into delirium.
Reward for Os Lobos
Portugal entered their second Rugby World Cup, 16 years after their first, with few expecting them to disrupt the established nations in Pool C.
However, under former France international Patrice Lagisquet, Os Lobos have entertained and enthralled with their attacking style and now have a World Cup win to celebrate at the eighth attempt.
They were far from disgraced in losses to Wales and Australia, while they were a missed penalty kick away from defeating Georgia.
Few will begrudge them this success against Fiji, who must regroup before taking on England for a semi-final spot.
Fiji: Maqala; Ravutaumada, Nayacalevu, Tuisova, Habosi; Botitu, Lomani; Mawi, Matavesi, Tagi, Nasilasila, Mayanavanua, Derenalagi, Botia, Mata.
Replacements: Ikanivere, Ravai Kovekalou, Doge, Cirikidaveta, Tuisue, Matawalu, Tela, Masi.
Portugal: Cardoso; Storti, Bettencourt, Lima, Marta; Portela, Marques; Fernandes, Tadjer, Ferreira, Madeira, Cerqueira, Wallis, Martins, Simoes.
Replacements: Costa, Diniz, Alves, Torgal, Granate, Belo, Appleton, Pinto.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
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