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Fiji stun Wales in World Cup shock
The islanders are through to the World Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Wales.
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2007 19:00 GMT

Fiji players celebrate their first quarter-final berth in 20 years at the Rugby World Cup [GALLO/GETTY]

Fiji defeated Wales 38-34 in one of the most thrilling Rugby World Cup matches of all-time at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes to secure their first quarter-final berth in 20 years.
 
After arguably the biggest World Cup upset since Samoa beat the Welsh in 1991, Fiji will now face South Africa in the last eight in Marseille on October 7.
"It hasn't actually sunk in yet," said Ilie Tabua, Fiji coach.
 
"Our goal was to get to the quarter-finals, to achieve it was an amazing feeling.
 
"I know it's early morning (in Fiji) but I know the whole of Fiji is awake."
Fiji led 25-10 at half-time, but in a free-flowing match Wales hit back with three tries in six minutes early in the second-half when Fiji were down to 14 men to take the lead in a breathtaking match.

However Graham Dewes, Fiji prop, scored the last of the game's nine tries just four minutes from time in a match where missed goal kicks cost Wales dearly as Fiji held on to record their first win against Wales in nine attempts.
 
Nicky Little, Fiji fly-half, kicked 18 points before being stretchered from the field with seconds remaining after suffering what looked to be a serious left knee injury.
 
"We made some serious errors and the defence was not up to standard," said Gareth Thomas, Wales skipper, who won his 100th cap for his country.
 
"We made the wrong decisions. In my career we have had some highs and lows and this is one of the lows."
 

"We made the wrong decisions. In my career we have had some highs and lows and this is one of the lows."

Gareth Thomas,
Wales captain

Wales took the lead in the fourth minute when outside-half Stephen Jones kicked a penalty, before Fiji began a remarkable scoring sequence in the 16th minute.
 
Brilliant handling at pace saw full-back Kameli Ratuvou link with centre Seru Rabeni before Ratuvou released Isoa Neivua as the left wing sped into the Wales 22.
 
The retreating Welsh defence couldn't get realigned in time and flanker Akapusi Qera made sure his backs' work wasn't wasted by crossing for a try which Little converted.
 
Minutes later Fiji had their second try when right wing Vilimoni Delasau chased his own kick down the touchline, and got a kind bounce which saw the ball evade both opposing wing Mark Jones and Stephen Jones.
 
Video referee Carlo Damasco of Italy ruled the winger had grounded the ball before crossing the dead-ball line and although Little missed the difficult conversion, Fiji were 12-3 ahead.
 
Frantic match
 
Little then made no mistake with a long-range penalty from just inside the half-way line before knocking over an easier chance to extend Fiji's lead, and more fine play, this time between Qera and Bai, led to a try for lock Kele Leawere.
 
Eventually, Wales saw their scrum strength lead to a pushover try for Number 8 Alix Popham in the 34th minute which centre James Hook converted.
 
In a frantic match, Fiji were reduced to 14 men on the stroke of half-time when Qera was yellow-carded for kicking out, but Hook missed the seemingly routine penalty.
 
Shane Williams, Wales winger, then scored a spectacular individual try that showcased some blistering speed and skillful side-stepping the Fijians would have been proud of, before Wales captain Thomas also scored.
 
Wales had their third try in quick succession when a fine move stretched the Fiji defence before the backs, with Hook again playing an important role, created an overlap for Mark Jones.
 
Costly misses
 
Stephen Jones, who saw his conversion of Williams's try hit the post, added the extras for Thomas's score and Wales suddenly found themselves ahead.
 
Two further Little penalty kicks saw Fiji take the lead again at 31-29, and with just nine minutes remaining a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Gareth Thomas was needed to deny Bai a try in the corner.
 
An incredible match then took yet another twist when Martyn Williams intercepted Little's pass for a 73rd minute try, before Stephen Jones then hit the post again with his conversion attempt and Wales were just 34-31 ahead.
 
Fiji came again and Delasau was held up just short, but a forward surge was rewarded when, in the 76th minute and after several minutes of replay study, Dewes was awarded a close range try which Little converted for a memorable victory.
Source:
Agencies
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