Four tries from flying winger Vereniki Goneva steered Fiji to a 49-25 Rugby World Cup win over Namibia in Rotorua on Saturday.
Fiji have overcome a determined Namibia side 49-25 after twice coming from behind twice at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.
Fly-half Theuns Kotze scored the most points by a Namibian player at a World Cup, scoring two penalties and three dropped goals for a personal tally of 15 points, as Namibia easily surpassed their best performance against Fiji, a heavy 18-67 loss.
While winger Vereniki Goneva scored four tries, the most by a Fijian player in a World Cup match, it was Namibia who went home with their heads held high after showing plenty of fight and confidence against their higher-ranked opponents.
Fiji's hopes for an emphatic start to the tournament were doused as the African minnows took the lead early through a Theuns Kotze penalty.
But their lead lasted only three minutes winger Goneva crossed to give Fiji a 7-3 lead.Then the unthinkable happened.
While only having the ball for short periods at a time, Kotze slotted three quick dropped goals to give them a handy five-point buffer.
It clearly rattled Fiji, and forced them to seriously reconsider changing their aerial-based tactic.
It proved to be fruitful when, after a Bai penalty brought them back to within two points, Goneva played a pivotal part in setting up Leona Nakarawa to score Fiji's second try.
The fast-paced nature did not phase the Africans, whose confidence grew as the match wore on as did the quality of the rugby they played.
But it was Fiji who scored next, thanks to the efforts of both Nakarawa and Goneva. The lock looked odds-on to score his second try before sucking in two defenders to leave Goneva free to score his second.
A Kotze penalty brought the score to 25-15, and with halftime approaching the score would have been a fair reflection of the match, but a late try to Nakarawa meant Fiji took a 32-15 lead.
Namibia came out determined to reward the crowd of more than 10,000 in the second half.
It paid dividends when, courtesy of another van Wyk break, lock Heinz Koll gave Namibia the perfect start with a well worked try with 35 minutes left. Suddenly it was game on.
But just as they had done before, Fiji soaked up the pressure before applying some of their own before Genova scored his fourth try for the crowd favourites and extend their lead to 39-20.
Namibia were unphased, however, and continued to play the better rugby without seemingly gaining any reward. That changed, however, when Chrysander Botha scored a wonderful team.
It took a further 20 minutes for Fiji to reply with any points, and when Bai's penalty attempt hit the crossbar before going over, the crowd knew it would be the Pacific Island nation who would be victorious.
Fiji ensured the last five minutes of the match belonged to them as they crossed for their sixth try through winger Naipolioni Nalaga.
When Bai nailed the difficult conversion the final sucker punch had been landed for the Fijians, who leave Rotorua knowing how lucky they were to have gained such a winning margin.
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