September 26 down the years
The minnows enjoy a day in the sun
Georgian player celebrate victory over Namibia, Georgia v Namibia, Rugby World Cup, Felix Bollaert stadium, Lens, France, September 26, 2007
Georgia celebrated victory over Namibia on this day in 2007 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: John Eales

As the Rugby World Cup pool stages drew to a close, the second-tier nations had their day in the limelight. In the first battle of the minnows the honours went to Georgia after a 30-0 win against Namibia in Lens gives them a fourth-place finish in the group table. Tries from Akvsenti Giorgadze, Irakli Machkhaneli and Davit Kacharava and 15 points from the boot of Merab Kvirikashvili were enough for an historic first victory in the sport's showpiece event. The Georgians had been one of the surprise packages, running Ireland perilously close and remaining competitive against the Pumas before eventually running out of steam.

The day's second Rugby World Cup battle of the minnows was a tight affair between Samoa and the USA. The Islanders scored three tries to pip The Eagles 25-21 in Saint Etienne. Lome Fa'atau, Alesana Tuilagi and Kane Thompson grounded before the break as the Polynesians avoided the ignominy of going through the tournament winless, following earlier defeats to South Africa, Tonga and England. Samoa thus finished fourth in their group with the USA last, England and South Africa progressing.

John Eales landed four successful kicks in a hard-fought 25-13 defeat of Samoa to help Australia qualify for the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales, which they went on to win. A strong Wallabies side scored three tries in front of just 9,000 fans at Ballymore, to centre Dan Herbert, prop Dan Crowley and No.8 Willie Ofahengaue. Junior Paramore and scrum-half John Clarke were on the scoresheet for Pat Lam's Samoa.

Canada pulled out a scheduled Test at Murrayfield on November 18 because of a strike by their players following the dismissal of coach Dave Clarke which meant they could not guarantee the game would go ahead. They also scrapped matches against Australia and Ireland. Their place was taken by Argentina.

Fiji, making their first tour of Europe, took part in a festival of memorable rugby against a strong Welsh XV at Cardiff before losing 28-22 in perfect conditions. Wales No.8 Alun Pask scored a dazzling try with the ball in one hand after dummying his way to the line.

Former French coach Jacques Fouroux's announced plans to set up a world professional league for top rugby union players shortly after the following year's Rugby World Cup. He said in order to achieve his aims he was prepared to sever his official connections with the French Rugby Federation, in which he had an advisory coaching role.

The first British touring team to New Zealand beat the South Island in Dunedin. Arthur Stoddart, who later captained England at cricket, led the tourists to a 5-3 victory.


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