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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021
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Liveblog

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Hello, welcome to coverage of our second liveblog of the day – South Africa v Fiji.

The teams are as follows:

South Africa: Pat Lambie, Odwa Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Morne Steyn, Fourie Du Preez; Gurthro Steenkamp, John Smit (captain), Jannie Du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Heinrich Brussow, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies.Replacements: Bismarck Du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Johann Muller, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard, Ruan Pienaar, Juan de Jongh.

Fiji: Kini Murimurivalu, Vereniki Goneva, Gaby Lovobalavu, Seremaia Bai, Naipolioni Nalaga, Waisea Luveniyali, Namia Kenatale; Campese Ma’afu, Sunia Koto, Deacon Manu (captain), Leone Nakarawa, Wame Lewaravu, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Akapusa Qera, Sakiusa Matadigo. Replacements: Talemaitoga Tuapati, Waisea Nailago, Netani Talei, Sisa Koyamaibole, Vitori Buatava, Nicky Little, Ravai Fatiaki.

PENALTY: A Fijian is penalised for not releasing from the tackle.

MISSED!!! Steyn loses his 100% record. He is human – that was not a difficult kick by any means.

Despite missing the penalty, South Africa have started well and are enjoying plenty of possession in the opening stages – as was the case against Wales.

Great sustained pressure and ball retention from Fiji. They’re coming more into the game now.

PENALTY FOR SOUTH AFRICA!!!

SOUTH AFRICA 3-0 FIJI: Incredible kick from Steyn just inside the Fiji half. Fiji can’t keep conceding cheap penalties if they are to have any chance in this game.

South Africa win a penalty in the Fijian 22 and opt to kick for the corner.

The ball is knocked on, following terrific defence from Fiji on their try line. Not sure how South Africa didn’t score there.

It’s now Fiji’s turn to put a bit of pressure on their opponents inside their 22. This is shaping up to be a fantastic game.

PENALTY FOR FIJI

FIJI 3-3 SOUTH AFRICA Luveniyali comfortably kicks over. Game on!

TRY for South Africa!!

SOUTH AFRICA 10-3 FIJI Following some good passing from South Africa, Gurthro Steenkamp brushes off two Fijians to power his way over the line. Steyn converts.

Kudos to Gabby Logan. She appears to be the only journalist (on Twitter at least) who has bothered to wake up for this game.

SOUTH AFRICA 13-3 FIJI Steyn kicks another penalty. He’s certainly made up for that shocking miss early on.

Steyn makes a characteristic ambitious drop goal attempt, which he fluffs completely.

TRY FOR SOUTH AFRICA!!!

SOUTH AFRICA 18-3  FIJI Wonderful rugby from South Africa – a series of quick passes stretches Fiji, and Jaque Fourie narrowly evades the tackler to dive home in the corner. Steyn misses the conversion from a tricky angle.

Steyn misses another penalty from very far out. His record is two successful kicks from five now.

A  short break in the game gives everyone a chance to breathe. This match has been played at an incredibly fast pace.

PENALTY FOR SOUTH Africa right before half time. Fiji must be gutted with themselves there. They were coming in from the side of the ruck.

HALF TIME: South Africa 21-3 Fiji: Steyn gets a much easier kick on this occasion and duly converts it.

South Africa have seemingly improved drastically since the Wales game. Fiji, on the other hand, may be a tad disappointed, especially with the amount of sloppy penalties they’ve given away. Steyn, unsurprisingly, has taken full advantage of these opportunities.

What do you reckon? Is there any chance of a Fiji comeback in the second half? Neil Francis doesn’t think so. Speaking of Neil Francis.

Many people seemed to have written off South Africa after the Wales game, but they really demonstrated their class in that first half.

The second half has begun…

Great run from Jaque Fourie. He is eventually tackled, allowing Fiji to steal possession, after the South Africans fail to provide adequate support for Fourie quickly enough.

Fiji need points on the board urgently, if they are to have any hope of rescuing this game.

You can’t fault Fiji’s endeavour, but they look short of ideas in attack at the moment, and seem to lack a bit of conviction.

Fiji really can’t afford to keep conceding penalties at will.

TRY FOR SOUTH AFRICA!!!

FIJI 3-28 SOUTH AFRICA Fran Steyn gets his second try of the tournament. A chip ahead is weighted perfectly and the ball is subsequently collected by a grateful Steyn who sidesteps his opponent and finishes with consummate ease. Steyn converts with aplomb from a difficult angle.

The question is: why couldn’t South Africa play like this against Wales?

The game is essentially over as a contest now.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Francois Hougaard is on for Odwa Ndungane and Bismarck Du Plessis replaces John Smit – surely a sign that South Africa think they have the game won.

Fiji launch another foray into the opposition 22, but again, their ball handling and lack of ingenuity in attack lets them down.

You get the feeling South Africa have reverted to second gear and are trying to conserve some energy for the games ahead. They know this match has been won.

TRY FOR SOUTH AFRICA!!!

FIJI 3-35 SOUTH AFRICA A classic South Africa try – great recycling and relentless running at the Fijian defence before Morne Steyn eventually crosses over the line. Steyn then converts his own try. They’ve got the all-important bonus point.

Fiji think they’ve scored, as Nalaga dives over the try line. However, it’s ruled out for a forward pass.

Shame that. Fiji deserve something out of this game.

Just under 15 minutes remaining. Can Fiji put an ounce of respectability on the scoreline?

FIJI 3-42 SOUTH AFRICA Another try for South Africa. It comes from a swift break, as Steyn finds a gap in the Fiji defence, and Mtawarira powers over the Fiji line. Steyn converts under the posts.

Fiji have a  try disallowed on account of a knock-on in the build up. It really hasn’t been their day.

SOUTH AFRICA 49-3 FIJI: Danie Rossouw gets his first try of the World Cup from Schalk Burger’s pass. He runs through a tired Fijian defence all too easily. Steyn converts, as you would expect him to from that angle.

South Africa are really tearing Fiji apart at the moment. It’s a harsh lesson for the Fijians, who have demonstrated some positive play on occasion. Nonetheless, the scoreline emphasises the considerable chasm in ability that exists between the two sides.

Last play of the game…

Both teams attempting to play on despite it being the last play – great to see.

FULL TIME: FIJI 3-49 SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa registered six tries in total.

The  final score was perhaps a tad harsh on Fjii, who contributed their part to what was an entertaining game.

South Africa, meanwhile, recovered some of their form, following their sub-par performance against Wales last week. They looked far more like World Cup holders today.

John Smit says the performance “put a smile on his face”. Mind you, his face doesn’t look great at the moment. His right eye is a little too red for my liking.

Right, a final message before I go from Ross O’Carroll Kelly, ahead of today’s game:

Okay, that’s it from me for today. I’m off to down a few Espressos. Niall Kelly will be liveblogging the Ireland game, so be sure to keep in touch with that. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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