Fiji confirmed their spot at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with a brutal 108-6 demolition of the Cook Islands in the decisive Oceania qualifier in Lautoka on Saturday. They will join England, Wales, Australia and the yet to be determined Repechage winner in Pool A.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Cook Islands took a 6-5 lead shortly before the half hour mark, but Fiji roared into the lead shortly thereafter adding three tries, and were out of sight in no time, heading into the break 29-6 to the good.
In the second half the gulf continued to get bigger with the Fijians adding a further 79 points and 12 tries to book their place at rugby’s showpiece event in style.
Elsewhere, Kenya shocked Namibia in the opening round of Confederation Africaine de Rugby Division 1A matches in Antananarivo, Madagascar on Saturday, to take a step towards their first ever World Cup. They won 29-22, while Zimbabwe, who have not featured at the event since 1991, also overcame Madagascar 57-22.
Namibia and Madagascar now face an uphill battle to qualify, but with two rounds remaining they have plenty of time. The winner will join New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C, while the runner-up will play Russia for a place in the Repechage final.
The game in Fiji coincided with the World Cup trophy tour, where the Webb Ellis Cup has spent the last few days. The trophy travelled across the island visiting schools, clubs and communities accompanied by former Fijian internationals Viliame Satala and Alifereti Doviverata who ran coaching sessions for locals.