Wales down Fiji to top the Pool of death

Ben Volavola is tackled by the Wales defence

Wales were made to work for it but they held on to beat Fiji 23-13 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and moved to the top of Pool A in the Rugby World Cup.

The victory is Wales’ third in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and keeps them in line to top the Pool with only a match against Australia remaining next week.

While the result keeps Wales in line to top the Pool their failure to beat Fiji with a bonus point could see them finishing in third place if other results go against them.

Gareth Davies who scored a try against England last week also crossed against Fiji and was named man of the match.

Wales will be watching Saturday’s match between England and Australia as they will be will be guaranteed one of the two qualifying spots for the quarter-finals along with Australia if the Wallabies beat England.

Wales could have done with a bonus point in the match but Fiji made it too hard for a tired Wales turn after a five day turnaround.

Warren Gatland’s Wales start made a fast start but ultimately they convert their overwhelming domination of territory and possession into points.

The Pacific islanders rallied impressively at scrum-time and in the loose, capitalising on very poor out-of-hand kicking by Wales.

“That was so tough,” said Wales captain Sam Warburton. “The first half, I was knackered.”

“But we have got three wins out of three. If someone had told us that at the start of the campaign we would have been quite happy.”

Wales scored two first-half tries through Davies and Scott Baldwin, fly-half Dan Biggar kicking two conversions and three penalties.

Ben Volavola kicked two penalties for Fiji after Wales scrum infringements and despite losing influential scrum-half Nikola Matawalu to injury and giant goal-kicking winger Nemani Nadolo to a ban, crossed for one try through Vereniki Goneva.

There was an electric start to the game, the Welsh camping out in the Fijian 22 metre area and both sides playing harum-scarum rugby to the delight of the 71,000 crowd.

The pressure paid off for Wales as scrum-half Davies dummied past Fiji captain Akapusi Qera to dart over from close range.

Biggar, who kicked 23 points in Wales’ thrilling win over England, made no mistake with the conversion.

There were still concerns over Wales’ scrum, penalised after an impressive Fijian shunt saw them retreating fast.

Volavola kicked the penalty, but missed a second effort. Biggar took Wales out to 10-3 with his first penalty as Morgan then skipped past a clutch of defenders only for Davies to ignore a simple two-on-one with the line beckoning.

Just after the half-hour mark, Baldwin crossed for Wales’ second after Tyler Morgan drove for the line, Biggar kicking the extras.

Fiji remained potent on the break, however, a loose pass by Gethin Jenkins seized upon and sent wide to Asaeli Tikoirotuma who accelerated away, the attack snuffed out in desperate fashion.

Volavola, signed by the Crusaders as a replacement for departing All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter, hit his second three-pointer after the Welsh front row collapsed at a scrum on their own ball.

But the fly-half fluffed a penalty seven minutes into the second period as Fiji pressed a ragged Welsh defence.

A minute later Alex Cuthbert almost intercepted but Fiji countered, the fleet-footed Tikoirotuma breaking through some sloppy tackles in midfield, Leicester centre Goneva on hand to ride a double tackle by Davies and Cuthbert to cross the whitewash in a cauldron-like atmosphere in the Welsh capital.

Volavola hit the conversion, Biggar responding with a penalty to take Wales’ lead out to seven points.

A poor Davies box kick was quickly recycled by Fiji, rampaging locks Leone Nakarawa and Tevita Cavubati linking well to take the game deep into Welsh territory.

Wales countered and Biggar settled home nerves with his third penalty to ensure there was no repeat of Fiji’s sole defeat of Wales in 2007, which condemned the Welsh to an early exit from that World Cup.

Final Score Wales 23 (17) Fiji 13 (6)

Scorers

Wales
Tries – G Davies, Baldwin
Pen – Volavola (2)
Con – Volavola
Drop –
Cards –

Fiji
Tries – Goneva
Pen – Biggar (2)
Con – Biggar (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee:
John Lacey (IRL)

Teams

Wales

Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Tyler Morgan, Jamie Roberts, George North; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Taulupe Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt), Dan Lydiate; Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies; Tom Francis, Scott Baldwin, Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: Ken Owens, Aaron Jarvis, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, James Hook

Fiji

Metuisela Talebula; Timoci Nagusa, Vereniki Goneva, Lepani Botia, Aseli Tikoirotuma; Ben Volavola, Nemia Kenatale; Netani Talei, Akapusi Qera (Capt), Dominiko Waqaniburotu; Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Cavubati; Manasa Saulo, Sunia Koto, Campese Maafu

Replacements: Viliame Veikoso, Peni Ravia, Leeroy Atalifo, Nemia Soqeta, Malakai Ravulo, Henry Seniloli, Joshua Matavesi, Kini Murimurivalu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close