Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign has been put on skates overnight, with the once-minnow nation Fiji rocking the Wallabies 22-15 during a crucial pool match in Saint-Étienne.

This is the first time Fiji has defeated Australia since 1954, and leaves the Wallabies with a 1-1 win-loss record in Pool C.

Ironically, the only players to score in the match were either Fijian or Fijian-Australians.

This kind of upset has been a long time coming for the Flying Fijians, who join the likes of Japan and fellow Pacific nations of Tonga and Samoa as the emerging players in world rugby.

This result has sparked an existential crisis amongst Australia’s rugby union loyalists, who will be today looking to blame either the ref or whichever poor bloke has been most recently rotated in as the national coach for a short-lived boost in confidence amongst the RA board members who still refuse to admit that a winning rugby world cup side exists in the Penrith Panthers NRL grassroots system alone.

However, in Fiji and the Fijian-heavy suburbs of Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney – there is nothing but euphoric optimism as the diaspora is given permission to dream that their boys might go all the way.

This marks the end of 69 years of participation trophies for Fiji, who have fought and clawed and kicked and tackled their way into major international contention.

As the celebration turns to preparation for whoever’s next, Fiji Rugby will fight tooth and nail to be the first Pacific Nation to drink Kava out of the Webb Ellis Trophy, instead of champagne or beer.

Kava, otherwise known as yaqona, is the traditional national drink of Fiji. It is a mildly narcotic and sedative drink made from the crushed root of the yaqona strained with water. It is served in a large communal bowl as part of the traditional kava ceremony – a ritual laden with tradition and ettiquette.

A possible world cup win will see the world’s first ever Kava ceremony that utilises a major international sporting trophy as the communal bowl, with Fiji Rugby making sure they have coconut shell kava cups sent directly to France from the islands – in preparation to pour full tides out of the silverware.

The Wallabies still remain with a hope ahead of a must-win clash against Wales in Lyon next Monday AEST.


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