Coach rates ‘jackler’ Botia

Levani Botia acknowledges the fans after Fiji’s 22-15 win over Australia after the game against Fiji at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint Etienne, France. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA

Levani Botia showed his coming of age as he stood over his Australian opponent, winning turnover ball again and again.

The La Rochelle club flanker, regarded as the best ‘jackler’ in the European competition, played a big role in Fiji’s 22-15 win over the Wallabies at the State Geoffroy-Guichard in St Etienne, France on Monday.

Botia, and man of the match Josua Tuisova, played a crucial role in Fiji winning 11 turnovers and forcing Australia to concede 18 penalties. He also made the most tackles with 14 of the total 120 tackles made during the 80-minute match.

He took up seven carries as Fiji dominated the overall possession of 51 per cent; the territory belonged to Australia as 55 per cent of the game was played in Fiji’s territory.

“Levani had put in a really good shift so probably time for him to come off but he played really well behind the ball, great defence,” Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui said.

Botia was taken off the field in the 59th minute, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. In other key stats, Fiji carried the ball for 674 metres to Australia’s 583m; made 110 passes of which 17 were deemed ‘bad’.

Fiji made 23 tackle breaks, three more than the Wallabies.

An area of concern for Raiwalui will be the missed tackles – 20 in total – before they face Georgia in Bordeaux on October 1.

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