Wales made to work for victory over Fiji

Alex Cuthbert has been named in the Wales starting line up

Wales got back to winning ways after last week’s loss to Australia when they beat Fiji 17-13 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Wales held on to edge a Fijian side reduced to 14 men in the 52nd minute in the one-off Test.

In a disappointingly error-ridden game, the home side scored three first-half
tries through wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert, and a penalty try, the
latter converted by Rhys Priestland.

Fiji, who saw prop Campese Ma’afu sent off with almost 30 minutes to play after
a second yellow card, replied with two Nemani Nadolo penalties, the giant centre
grabbing a 78th intercept try he also converted.

Wales will be left ruing their poor execution and ball skills as they failed
to convert their domination of territory and possession into points, after last
weekend’s 33-28 defeat by Australia and ahead of consecutive matches against
world champions New Zealand and South Africa.

North opened the scoring after a schoolboy midfield move left the Fijian defence
out of shape, Scott Williams drawing the last man and playing in the winger
for his 19th Test try.

The home side dominated possession but Fiji were quick to seize on any counter-attacking
chances, Stade Francais’ Waisea Nayacalevu making a hash of a try-scoring opportunity
after Priestland lost the ball.

The fly-half, targeted by sections of the Millennium Stadium for jeers and
whistles in the loss to Australia, then delivered the crucial long pass to Cuthbert,
allowing the winger to dot down in the corner.

While Priestland missed his two conversions, giant Fijian centre Nemani Nadolo
nailed a penalty in the 22nd minute for Fiji’s first points and bagged a second
shortly after following another lost ball in contact.

Poor home defence almost left Fiji in for a try on the half-hour, centre Vereniki
Goneva breaking 50 metres from a ruck.

Fiji skipper Akapusi Qera scorned a two-man overlap, however, and Nadolo skewed
a resulting penalty.

Fijian woes worsened just before half-time when prop Ma’afu was yellow-carded
for dragging down an attacking Welsh maul on their line.

After a further maul was brought down, French referee Paul Gauzere awarded
a penalty try, converted by Priestland.

Nadolo missed a long-range penalty and in the 53rd minute, Campese was sent
off for a second yellow card after taking out Bradley Davies in the line-out.

With knock-ons and turnovers now the main feature of a poor second period,
Cuthbert was bundled into touch with the line beckoning as the Fijians stoutly
manned their 14-man defence.

Faletau thought he had got the scoreboard ticking again when he sprinted in
for a try after full-back Liam Williams, the one player to impress, broke away,
but referee Gauzere ruled it out for a tackle infringement.

Fiji, who will rue their lack of a recognised goalkicker and a play-making
midfield marshal, had the last word when Nadolo seized on a Priestland pass
to sprint away for a try he converted to bring the curtain down on a dire match.

Final Score Wales 17 (17) Fiji 13 (6)

Scorers

Wales
Tries – North, Cuthbert, Penalty
Pen –
Con – Priestland
Drop –
Cards –

Fiji
Tries – Nadolo
Pen – Nadolo (2)
Con – Nadolo
Drop –
Cards –

Match Official
Referee:
Pascal Gauzere (FRA)

Teams

Wales

Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate; Lu

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