Fiji v France
Land Park, Brisbane
Ref: Some Irish bastard
Fulltime: Frogs 61 Fiji 18
Half time: Frogs 24 - Fiji 8
Well I canít call Lang Park the sandpit anymore it was a billiard table. The ground looked great. We were seated behind the dead ball line in line with the numbers on the right hand side watching Fiji run at us in the first half and the Frogs score all the tries in the second. We were 8 rows back from the action on the ground level and I could almost pat the head of the cameraman as I looked all the players in the eyes.
What can I say, the stadium was electric for the opening match in Brisvegas. The crowd was going for a Fiji victory: with plenty of white jumpers; Fijian flags flying proudly; and the crowd chanting Fiji, Fiji, Fiji before the kick off. The only problem was that a cold front had come over and the locals needed a jacket to keep warm.
From where we were sitting, we faced the Fijian war cry and soaked in the passion before the whole stadium erupted in another chant for Fiji.
Then the game was on. Every time the Fijian players made a half break or knocked a Frog over the crowd collectively orgasmed for the first 60 minutes of the game.
France played very well and exploited Fijiís two greatest weaknesses: their forwards and discipline. The Fijian forwards just arenít there yet and it isnít helped when the European clubs blackmail players into playing for them instead of their country. Why the IRB hasnít suspended these clubs, from their local competitions respectively, is beyond me as the showcase for world rugby should be the pinnacle and not the almost there but not quite event.
And didnít that bloody Irishman enjoying blowing his horn.
By constantly infringing at the break down, Michalak was able to do his Johnny-pretty-boy Wilkinson kicking impersonation, thatís right wring those hands and squat over at a funny angle. Michalak kept France in control of the game and the Frogs rarely turned down the kicking opportunity much to the crowdís frustrations.
So when Fiji crossed for the first try the crowdís jubilation was infectious and several people had to be restrained by their mates from rushing on and carrying Naevo around the ground on their shoulders.
Fiji was struggling by half time but the start of the second gave false hope to the local supporters when Fiji piled on 10 quick points via Rupeni Caucaunibuca planting the ball under the black dot and Nicky Little kicking well. Unfortunately after that it was all over for the Fijian score card and France asserting its dominance.
Unfortunately for the home ground supporters the French were able to utilise their forwards to create space for their backs to exploit. They did this by sucking in the Fijian backs who had to help their forwards and then spun it out wide to their own backs. And this was the difference through out the game and enabled them to win a well deserved win. With 7 (Jauzion the IC scored 3 and Dominici winger got a double) tries being scored to 2.
However, I have failed to miss the two critical events in the second half: the all-in were I will be surprised if someone is not spending some time on the sideline after an elbow; and the blow up doll that was being used like a beach ball in the crowd in our vicinity.
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