Fiji stirs up Rugby World Cup pool of death after massive win

Fiji skipper Akapusi Qera, we're ready for England. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Fiji skipper Akapusi Qera, we’re ready for England. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Did the Rugby World Cup pool of death just get deadlier?

While ranked ninth in the world, Fiji have barely mentioned as a prospect of being among the top two teams who can escape the depths of Pool A.

Then they routed Canada 48-17 in London on Sunday (NZT Monday), a win that should have the likes of Australia, England and Wales looking sideways at the men from the islands.

More than one slip up in pool play is likely to end the prospects of advancing to the quarterfinals for these four teams.

It is Wales that now look particularly vulnerable, their unimpressive 23-19 win over Italy seeing two of their star players taken off on carts.

Serious-looking leg injuries struck backline stars Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny, just two weeks out from the Cup.

The loss of either would deal a serious blow to Wales’ hopes at the Rugby World Cup.

Former Chiefs and Blues utility Gareth Anscombe, who had his own cup prospects ruined by injury, is now being talked of as a Cup replacement.

Fiji knocked Wales out of the 2007 tournament.

Fiji face tournament hosts England at Twickenham in the opening fixture of the World Cup on September 19 (Fiji Time).

And surprised by beating Six Nations champions Ireland 21-13 at Twickenham on Sunday (Fiji Time).

Fiji coach John McKee outlined his ambitions after Canada were vanquished.

“We know what a good side England are and we need to be at our absolute best to topple them, but we have the belief that we can do well,” McKee said.

“It’s a big task, but the great thing about sport is that challenges bring out the best in people and I believe that with the team we’ve got we are going to cause some upsets in this competition.

“We don’t see them as upsets, but other people may do. We’ve got the England game, but this pool isn’t all about facing England, it’s about all four games.

“There will be a lot of twists and turns. Teams are going to beat each other, win games and lose games, so it could be very tight at the end. We want to get out of the pool phase.”

Fiji captain Akapusi Qera, speaking after a match watched by England coach Stuart Lancaster, echoed the words of his coach.

“We’re not here to make up the numbers. We’re here to stamp our mark as well. We’ll be ready for England.”

 – Stuff

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Filed under Australia, England, Fiji, Pool A, Rugby World Cup, Uruguay, Wales

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