Fiji smash France in major upset - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fiji smash France in major upset

01/11/2008 10:00:14 PM Comments (0)

Fiji have scored the biggest upset of the rugby league World Cup so far with a stunning 42-6 win over France at WIN Stadium.

The Fijians went into the tournament as 500-1 outsiders to win the title but shocked the French with a spectacular seven tries to one win.

Newcastle Knights flyer Akuila Uate scored three tries - one an amazing 90m individual effort - as the crowd favourites out enthused their more fancied rivals.

Fullback Jarryd Hayne was sensational at the back for Fiji, scoring two tries and proving a handful for the French defence.

The big win all but assures Fiji a place in the next phase of the tournament, a semi-final qualifier against the winner of pool 3 on Monday week.

If they can win that game, likely to be against Samoa, they could find themselves in a semi-final against tournament favourite Australia.

Hayne brought the pro-Fijian crowd of 9,213 to life with a try in the sixth minute and his side never looked back in the pool 2 match.

They led 18-6 at the break and then sealed the amazing win with a four tries to nil second half shut out.

The Fijians provided some sparkling highlights with their fluent ball movement and brilliant athleticism but the stand out was Uate's third try in the 74th minute.

From dummy half he broke the line and then showed blistering pace and a devastating step to score the try of the tournament.

Captain Wes Naiqama said the amazing performance of his Newcastle teammate did not surprise him.

"Everyone knows what Aku is capable of and he has been waiting for this chance, for this opportunity to showcase what he has got," Naiqama said.

Fiji's NRL players were vital but the team's lesser lights from NSW sides like the Parkes Spacemen and Terrigal Sharks also provided spark.

Parkes five-eighth Alipate Noilea put his clubmate Semisitora in for a try and Sharks frontrower Iowane Divavesi also crashed over.

The Fijians are deeply religious and their coach Joe Dakuitoga said their faith in a higher power had propelled them to victory.

"We want to thank God for giving the boys the strength (and) the power - so we are giving him back all of the glory," Dakuitoga said.

France lost hooker James Wynne early to a dislocated elbow but coach John Monie refused to make excuses for his well-beaten side.

"I was disappointed," Monie said.

"We should have played better football than that - they had too much enthusiasm."

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