Fiji skipper Mosese Rauluni engineered three tries to help Fiji start the 2007 Rugby World Cup winning 35-31 against Japan in their last Wednesday September 12 in Toulouse.
Rauluni’s crunching tackle in Fiji’s 22 metre in the 36th minute saw the ball spilled by Japanese number eight Takuro Miuchi which flanker Akapusi Qera scooped up to sprint 80 metres to touch down between the posts.
The Qarani man led another spurt five minutes later with a long blind side pass to left winger Isoa Neivua who sprinted downfield before offloading inside to Qera who was following up to score his second try.
The nippy halfback spearheaded another attack in the 70th minute which was converted a phase later with a try by lock Kele Leawere which was highlighting Fiji’s swiftness in punishing the opposition with their incisive running.
Fiji also scored a well worked try with an attacking run by full back Kameli Ratuvou from winning an own scrum in the 54th minute which was finally scored by right winger Filimone Delasau.
Japan was not outdone in the match and shows Fiji’s vulnerability in allwing the Cherry Blossoms back into the match after controlling proceedings in the first half.
An all out attack in the last five minutes saw Fiji defending desperately to hold off the kamikaze offensive by the Japanese.
Japan: 15 Go Aruga, 14 Christian Loamanu, 13 Yuta Imamura, 12 Shotaro Onishi, 11 Kosuke Endo, 10 Bryce Robins, 9 Tomoki Yoshida, 8 Takuro Miuchi (c), 7 Philip O’Reilly, 6 Hare Makiri, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Tomokazu Soma, 2 Yuji Matsubara, 1 Tatsukichi Nishiura
Replacements: 16 Taku Inokuchi, 17 Ryo Yamamura, 18 Takanori Kumagae, 19 Ryota Asano, 20 Yuki Yatomi, 21 Koji Taira, 22 Hirotoki Onozawa
Fiji: 15 Kameli Ratuvou, 14 Vilimoni Delasau, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Isoa Neivua, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Mosese Rauluni(c), 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Semisi Naevo, 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Kele Leawere, 3 Henry Qiodravu, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Graham Dewes
Replacements: 16 Vereniki Sauturaga, 17 Jone Railomo, 18 Netani Talei, 19 Aca Ratuva, 20 Jone Daunivucu, 21 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 22 Norman Ligairi
Referee: Marius Jonker
Touch judges: Paul Marks, Federico Cuesta
Television match official: Malcolm Changleng
Assessor: Stuart Beissel
Caption: Flanker Akapusi Qera attacks for Fiji against Japan in their opening match of the Rugby World Cup. Photo: BBC