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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Fiji dash Japanese hopes
Fiji's Koli Sewabu in action against Japan
Fiji 41
Tries: Ligairi (2), Tuilevu (2), Vunibaka
Con: Little (2)
Pens: Little (4)
Japan 13
Try: Miller
Con: Miller
Pen: Miller
DG: Miller
Fiji 41-13 Japan

Fiji kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup quarter-finals with a convincing win over Japan.

Aisea Tuilevu and Norman Ligairi scored two tries apiece as Fiji outgunned their Pool B rivals five tries to one in a fast-flowing contest from two of the tournament's more attack-minded sides.

Fly-half Andy Miller scored all 13 of Japan's points, including a first-half try.

But the scoreline could have been much higher for both sides had they not knocked on the ball so repeatedly.

Fiji can book their place in the quarter-finals if they beat Scotland on 1 November but will have to drastically improve their discipline, which gifted Japan a flurry of penalties, to have any chance of troubling the Scots.

The result leaves the Cherry Blossoms without a point from three games.

Nicky Little, who replaced the injured Waisale Serevi after 10 minutes, and Miller switched penalties early on.

But a game full to the brim of invention ignited when Ligairi stormed through Japan's defence, courtesy of a delightful side-step by centre Seru Rabeni.

It was an important game for us - a do-or-die match
Fiji captain Alivereti Doviverata

Moments later the Fijians stretched their lead, this time Filimoni Delasau doing the damage as he sprinted clear.

He was caught short but wing Tuilevu was on hand to finish off in the right-hand corner for his first score.

Japan, who had dominated the scrums, finally made that pay on the half hour when Miller profited from a quick break from the base of the set piece.

Fiji came close to a sublime second-half restart as Alifereti Mocelutu powered his way to the line, only for Fiji's captain to knock the ball as he tried to ground it.

Despite his failure, his side only had to wait another 10 minutes for try three as Epeli Ruivadra drew in two defenders and curled the ball past his tacklers to send Tuilevu flying to the line for his second try.

The finest individual effort of the night, though, was left to Ligairi as he hoofed the ball ahead down the right flank before scooping up the ball one handed and touching down.

Japan battled to cut the deficit in the dying minutes only for Little to wrap it up with a last-gasp penalty.

Fiji: N Ligairi; A Tuilevu, E Ruivadra, S Rabeni, F Delasau; W Serevi, S Rabaka; N Seru, G Smith, I Rasila; K Leawere, E Katalau; A Doviverata, K Sewabu, A Mocelutu
Replacements: B Gadolo, J Veitayaki, S Koyamaibole, V Maimuri, M Rauluni, N Little, M Vunibaka

Japan: T Matsuda; D Ohata, R Parkinson, Y Motoki, H Onozawa; A Miller, T Tsuji; N Okubo, T Miuchi (capt), T Ito; A Parker, H Kiso; M Yamamoto, M Sakata, C Nam Oh
Replacements: S Hasegawa, M Amino, K Kubo, R Asano, Y Sonoda, G Konia, T Kuihara

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