2 Dakuwaqa tries on debut help Fiji subdue Georgia 21-12

BATUMI, Georgia (AP) — A pair of walk-in tries by winger Peniasi Dakuwaqa on debut helped Fiji put down Georgia 21-12 in Adjarabet Arena on Friday.

Fiji hustled three tries while limiting the Georgians to four Luka Matkava penalties. Victory wasn't certain until Fiji went 21-9 ahead with a quarter to go.

Coming off its first Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in 16 years, including a 17-12 pool win over Georgia in Bordeaux, Fiji conceded a penalty early but also crossed early.

After three straight penalties, Fiji set up an attacking lineout and hooker Tevita Ikanivere barged over.

Matkava's boot put Georgia back ahead but four minutes later debutant flanker Kitione Salawa jumped over a ruck and burst upfield, and was on hand at the tryline to lob pass to an unmarked Dakuwaqa for his first try.

Vilimoni Botitu couldn't convert both Fiji tries from the sidelines but landed a penalty for a 13-9 halftime lead.

Georgia rued what might have been. Scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze had taken a quick tapped penalty near the Fiji tryline and lost possession, two other penalty kicks were missed, and flanker Luka Ivanishvili spent halftime in the sin-bin.

Botitu's second penalty and Dakuwaqa's second try put Fiji out of reach as Georgia was held out by terrific defence.

Georgia goes to Japan next week, while Fiji will wait for New Zealand in San Diego in two weeks.

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AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby