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Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia survive Fiji scare to clinch victory; New Zealand gear up to face arch-rivals South Africa on Day 2

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia survive Fiji scare to clinch victory; New Zealand gear up to face arch-rivals South Africa on Day 2

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  • Fiji led 21-12 early in the second half before replacement scrum-half Will Genia inspired a revival, leading the Aussies to a bonus-point win

  • Next up on day two, after Japan’s tournament-opening 30-10 win over Russia on Friday, France play Argentina in a closely matched game

  • The day’s highlight is the last match when the All Blacks face their fiercest rivals, a Springboks side which held them 16-16 when they last met

Tokyo: Australia survived an almighty scare to beat Fiji 39-21 as defending champions New Zealand prepared to take on South Africa in a day of heavyweight showdowns at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

Fiji, putting in some thunderous hits, led 21-12 early in the second half before replacement scrum-half Will Genia inspired a revival, leading the Aussies to a bonus-point win.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia survive Fiji scare to clinch victory; New Zealand gear up to face arch-rivals South Africa on Day 2

Australia’s prop Scott Sio carries the ball during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup match between Australia and Fiji. AFP

Tolu Latu crashed over twice, and Samu Serevi and Marika Koroibete also crossed in the second half following scores by Michael Hooper and Reece Hodge in a helter-skelter first period.

“They’re such a dangerous team, we knew that very well,” said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. “It’s what we expected (but) we probably didn’t expect to be so far behind.”

“We made a few errors that let them into it but we recomposed ourselves, went back to basics and were able to get it done.”

Next up on day two, after Japan’s tournament-opening 30-10 win over Russia on Friday, France play Argentina in a closely matched game that neither side can afford to lose in Pool C.

But the day’s undoubted highlight is the last match when the All Blacks rumble into action against their fiercest rivals, a Springboks side which held them 16-16 when they last met in July.

While questions have been raised about All Blacks, now without their long-time world number one ranking, the Springboks are hotly tipped after a revival under coach Rassie Erasmus.

Ahead of their meeting in Yokohama, which many believe could be a preview of the 2 November final at the same venue, both sides will be keenly aware that no team has lost in the pool stages and gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

New Zealand captain Kieran Read was in no doubt about the importance of the game, which could go a long way to deciding whether the All Blacks win an unprecedented third straight title and fourth overall.

“South Africa in our opening game of the tournament is going to be one of the bigger games you play over your career,” said the 122-Test veteran, who played in both the 2011 and 2015 World Cup finals.

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