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#RWC10: Boks pushed all the way by Fiji in QF

Fiji's skilful attack and fierce defence gave the Springboks their second Pacific Island scare of the tournament.

Fiji scrum-half Mosese Rauluni (C) tries to get past South Africa's Schalk Burger (R) and Bakkies Botha (L) during their 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - South Africa booked a spot in the World Cup semi-finals with a hard-fought 37-20 win over Fiji in Marseille.

Fiji's skilful attack and fierce defence gave the Springboks their second Pacific Island scare of the tournament, with Tonga also coming close to causing an upset in the pool stage.

The Springboks did just enough, with tries from Jacque Fourie, John Smit, JP Pietersen, Juan Smith and Butch James ensuring that World Cup glory was still on track.

The final score was flattering the South Africans, while not doing justice to just how hard they were pushed by a motivated Fiji.

The Springboks were disjointed but still led 13-3 at half-time thanks to Fourie and Smit’s tries, coupled with a long-range Frans Steyn penalty.

Fiji fly-half Seremaia Bai got his team off to the best possible start shortly after the break with a penalty goal. Fiji had their more fancied opponents under an enormous amount of pressure but a counter-attack saw JP Pietersen cross for their third try, set up beautifully by lock Victor Matfield with a deft pass.

Percy Montgomery added the extra points to give his team a 20-6 lead. It was a double blow for Fiji who lost inside centre Seru Rabeni for 10 minutes immediately after the try.

The one-man disadvantage did not hamper the Fijians' spirit, as winger Vilimoni Delasau kicked ahead and his searing speed ensured he scored the try which Bai converted, to bring the the score to 20-13.

A couple of minutes later, their captain Mosese Rauluni was the spark for probably the try of the match as he sniped from the base of a ruck to release his powerful winger Sireli Bobo, who ran in for a superb score.

Bai converted to level the scores at 20-20, and with their tails up an inspired Fiji came within centimetres of taking the lead. Firstly, replacement prop Jone Railomo was held up after a forward drive.

Then perhaps in the defining moment of the match, Fijian lock Kele Rawaqa looked certain to score metres from the line, but he hesitated and the Bok wing JP Pietersen forced him into touch in goal. The decision went to the video referee and he judged it not to be a try.

Then came Bok captain Smit's speech, his words focused his team on finishing off the job while spoiling the match from a neutrals perspective. Percy Montgomery kicked a penalty and the Smith and James scored tries to guarantee South Africa’s progression to the semi finals.

Match 5 Quarter Final, Marseille:

South Africa 37-20 Fiji

SA tries:
Fourie
Smith
Pietersen
Smith
James

Conversions:
Montgomery 3/5

Penalties:
Steyn 1/1
Montgomery 1/2

Fiji tries:
Delesau
Bobo

Conversions:
Bai 2/2

Penalties:
Bai 2/2

Man of the Match:
Juan Smith

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