The Wallabies will be on high alert after Fiji’s narrow Rugby World Cup loss to Wales according to former Australian international Stephen Hoiles.
Fiji fell agonisingly short in their opening Pool C fixture, downed 32-26 in a thriller at Bordeaux.
With the clock into overtime, a cut-out pass to Fiji winger Semi Radradra wound up with the former NRL player dropping the ball and ending the match in the 82nd minute.
With high hopes Australia will top the pool, the widespread belief was that the outcome of the Fiji-Wales contest would determine who makes it through to the quarter-finals.
Fiji’s loss is not necessarily good news for the Wallabies, who Hoiles said will need to be wary of a turnaround.
“It’s all of a sudden become do-or-die for the Fijians,” said Hoiles on Stan Sport’s RWC Central.
“It’s in Lyon. They’ve had success in France in the 2007 World Cup there. They’re going to be disappointed but the Fijians aren’t the type of team to sit back and play conservative because of a loss. They’ll come out firing and it’ll be a huge game for Australia.
“Looking at how the Wallabies finished in the second half and how the Fijians finished their second half, we’re going to need to improve our back end of the game to compete with this in-form – although they lost – they’re still an in-form Fijian side.”
After scoring two tries within four minutes of each other in the opening quarter, Fiji didn’t score again until the 73rd minute and again five minutes later.
Hoiles said Fiji will rue that last opportunity to eclipse Wales, making for a scary second outing.
“They had so many opportunities, they never ever give up,” said Hoiles.
“As much as we talk about the Fijian flair, the work up front, and how much brutality they play with – this is the last moment of the game and they’ve got space, they’ve got numbers out on the edge.
“The long pass which cuts out two probably wasn’t needed and then the bounce pass unfortunately, Semi Radradra knocks it on.
“They score there, they convert, they win and it would’ve been a historic win for Fiji – but they’re not out of it yet.
“It’s scary for the Wallabies that we’ve got to face them in seven days’ time.”
Australia will face Fiji on Monday.