Magnifique! awe-inspiring! Fijians can really fly!

Semi Radradra attacks against Australia at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint Etienne, France yesterday. Picture: Martin Seras Lima

Fre nch rugby commentators started yelling Magnifique Fidjienes (Magnificent Fijians) as soon as the final whistle sounded as Fiji caused the first major upset of the Rugby World Cup 2023 beating Australia 22 – 15 in their second pool match.

Hundreds of thousands of die-hard Fiji fans witnessed perhaps the greatest result in rugby history for our side which in my book rates above the 1977 win over the British Lions and the RWC 2007 win over Wales.

In rugby history, there are moments that transcend the game itself, moments that are etched into the collective memory of fans worldwide. (It was amazing to listen to the crowd cheering for Fiji.

Almost every French in Saint Etienne was proving the lung power for Fiji) Fiji’s awe-inspiring performance in the must-win game was one such moment – a display of guts, wit, heart, pride, and passion that sent shockwaves through the rugby world.

From the very beginning, it was clear that Fiji had come to play.

The battle lines were drawn with the spine-tingling cibi. It felt like the ground trembled beneath them, the Fijian boys unleashed a tempest of power and determination that shook the very foundations of rugby.

Tuisova, Kerevi, Botia – these giants of the game clashed with ferocity and grace, leaving spectators in awe of their physical prowess and rugby IQ.

In the heart of this titanic battle, halfback Simione Kuruvoli emerged as the linchpin of Fiji’s famous and historic victory. Kuruvoli’s master-class show was nothing short of sublime. Under immense pressure with the weight of a nation on his kicking boot, he coolly slotted long-range penalties, adding up to the monumental win.

His box kick proved to be a thorn in the Wallabies’ defence and his accurate kick saw Tuisova putting the pedal to the metal as the Fiji rugby ‘bus’ was off, with the hand brakes nowhere to be found, crashing over for Fiji’s lone try.

This W ranks among Fiji’s greatest moments in our history, I believe it is the best ever and rates above the iconic win against the Lions in 1977 and their spirited win in the RWC 2007 against Wales.

This is a clear testament to the talent, dedication and sheer will of Fijian rugby players who have long been overshadowed by their Tier 1 counterparts. But now, the world must take notice. Fiji’s remarkable triumph over England and Australia in a space of four weeks sends a clear message: Fear Fiji.

The Flying Fijians have arrived on the grandest stage of rugby, and they are here to stay.

They demand respect and recognition, and they’ve earned it through their performances against Tier One nations, England, Wales and Australia.

Wales would be counting their lucky stars after that narrow escape to victory.

The Fijians have demonstrated that they possess the mettle, the skill and the heart to take on the world’s best. Fiji’s time to shine has arrived and rugby fans around the globe eagerly await what promises to be an unforgettable journey at rugby’s showpiece event in France.

  • SATISH NARAIN is a regular contributor to this newspaper. The views expressed in this article are his and not necessarily of The Fiji Times.

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