The Latest: Big hits in Australia-Fiji reverberate overseas
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
The heavy tackles and bullocking runs in the Australia-Fiji game reverberated across the Pacific. Fiji got away to a flyer and led by as many as nine points against the two-time World Cup champions before Australia rallied to win by six tries to two.
There's some strong connections between the teams, with three Fiji-born players in the Australian XV, and an Australian-born flyhalf and head coach working with Fiji.
Samu Kerevi was born in Fiji but became a professional player in Australia and a star for the Wallabies and the Queensland Reds. His family back in Fiji was torn between wanting Kerevi to do well in Saturday's game, but wanting Fiji to produce a big upset win.
"I got a video from home. I was really worried the house was going to come down, the walls were banging, my grandmother (was) hitting the walls," Kerevi told reporters. "It really put into perspective what a game of rugby can do for a small nation like Fiji.
"It was an emotional week, the first time playing my home nation (and) knowing who was at home and who was watching. I am just really proud of where I am from, really proud of my background and my culture."
Kerevi is now preparing for next Sunday's Pool D game against Six Nations champion Wales. Fiji has to regroup quickly for a game against Uruguay on Wednesday.
Day 3 of the Rugby World Cup has a Six Nations flavor, with top-ranked Ireland playing Scotland in Yokohama and Italy and England opening their campaigns before and after that game.
Italy kicks off the action Sunday in a Pool B game at Osaka against Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 23. Italy captain Sergio Parisse is set to start in his fifth World Cup, joining former teammate Mauro Bergamasco and Samoa's Brian Lima in a select group to have achieved that.
Defending champion New Zealand beat South Africa 23-13 in a blockbuster to open Pool B on Saturday night.
Ireland and Scotland are in Pool A with host Japan, which beat Russia in the tournament's opening match, and Samoa.
The England-Tonga Pool C game will conclude play on a busy opening weekend in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.