Rugby League World Cup: Fiji edge New Zealand to set up semi-final with Australia

James O'Brien
Fiji will now face Australia in the semi-finals: Getty

New Zealand are out of the World Cup after Fiji edged a try-less game to book a World Cup semi-final date with Australia.

The Kiwis, finalists in the last three tournaments, looked a shadow of their former selves and Fiji took advantage to claim a 4-2 victory in a error-strewn first meeting between the sides.

Fiji dominated the first half in Wellington but were too slow and laboured to break the Kiwis down as they failed to add to Apisai Koroisau's penalty.

Fiji had the better of the first half (Getty)

The Bati could not make the most of Jordan Rapana's sin-binning and only held a slender advantage heading into the closing stages after Shaun Johnson and Taane Milne exchanged two-pointers.

But that proved to be enough as they held on to reach a third successive semi-final.

New Zealand, who lost star forward Jason Taumalolo to Tonga and were without Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor for disciplinary reasons, made a bright start to the tournament but Tonga knocked the stuffing out of the 2008 champions and Fiji finished them off.

No side scored more points than Fiji in the group stage and they thought they had taken a fifth-minute lead through Brayden Williame, only for replays to show the Catalans Dragons player had failed to ground the ball.

New Zealand are out after being finalists in the last three tournaments (Getty)

New Zealand had made a shaky start following their shock defeat by Tonga and they were relieved to be just 2-0 down after 20 minutes with Fiji only having Koroisau's penalty to show for their early dominance.

The Kiwis lost back-rower Joseph Tapine to injury to cap off a miserable first 40 minutes but they were still well in the game at half-time.

Johnson got New Zealand on the board after Fiji were penalised for dissent but the Kiwis were immediately on the back foot again after Rapana was sent to the bin for a professional foul.

Fiji will now play Australia (Getty)

New Zealand came through the 10-minute period unscathed after Williame had a try ruled out for a double movement.

But any hopes they would build on that effort were dashed as Milne accepted the offer of two points after more Kiwi indiscipline.

New Zealand were gifted late field position after Kevin Naiqama lost the ball on his own 40-metre mark but Fiji knew the game was won when Brad Takairangi failed to reach Rapana's kick.

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