Wales wary of Rugby World Cup
Wales put aside a year of disappointing results to hang on and beat Fiji 32-26 on Sunday in a thriller to give themselves every chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
It may have only been their opening match in Pool C, but the showdown against the Fijians was seen as key to Wales’ tournament hopes in France, offering them redemption after losing six of eight internationals in 2023 and breathing life into a beleaguered team. Victory was almost stolen in the end by the Pacific Islanders who were looking to come back from an 18-point deficit and could have staged an improbable comeback, but they struck with the try line at their mercy.
Both teams scored four tries in a match full of line breaks, exciting runs and bruising clashes that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, especially at the end as Fiji fought back 32-14. Josh Adams, George North, Louis Rees-Zammit and Elliot Dee joined for Wales, with Dan Biggar adding two penalties and three conversions while Waisea Nayacalevu, Lekima Tagitagivalu, Josua Tuisova and Mesake Doge were Fiji’s try scorers.
Gatland sees no problem with Biggar’s outburst at North
Wales coach Warren Gatland said he saw little wrong with Dan Biggar’s outburst towards teammate George North during Sunday’s thrilling 32-26 win over Fiji in their first match in Pool C of the Rugby World Cup.
Fly-half Biggar waved to the stands and chastised North for not kicking the ball into touch to bring about the half-time break when Wales were under pressure in their own 22 and held a narrow lead from 18-14.
“I had no problem with it. It’s about empowering people,” Gatland said.
“There is nothing wrong with players challenging each other. We want it to be part of the group so that everyone is responsible.
“For me, peer pressure is huge in terms of responsibility and accountability. This kind of criticism is not personal. We say it’s a service point.
“It’s about the team getting better and it’s about the individuals getting better, because we need to be comfortable with our critical thinking skills.”
Laurent OstlereSeptember 11, 2023 06:59
Till next time
Next up for Wales is a clash with Portugal which takes place on Saturday 16th. Fiji need to regroup quickly as they face another huge match against Australia next Sunday, September 17th.
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:38 p.m.
Wales edge Fiji in heartbreaking World Cup thriller in Bordeaux
Fiji was expected to mount fierce opposition Bordeauxand they did not disappoint, but Wales eventually secured a fourth consecutive World Cup victory against them in heartbreaking fashion.
It was tense throughout the match, especially when Fiji scored twice in the final seven minutes and Wales had to dig deep in a wild finale when Fijian center Semi Radradra struck close to the line on the last play of the game.
Warren Gatland’s side eventually won thanks to tries from Josh Adams, George North, Louis Rees-Zammit and Elliot Dee, with the fly-half Dan Biggar adding two penalties and three conversions in a bonus point success watched by Welsh Rugby Union boss the Prince of Wales.
Read the full match report below:
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:33 p.m.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland speaking after the match
“Delighted with the victory but frustrated with the last 15 minutes. We’ll need a full review to look at this, but we just made some stupid decisions on some things in terms of discipline and penalties when we were in control of the game.
“That’s the disappointing but elated aspect of victory. We are still building, so there will be a lot of learning from today and I think we will improve as the tournament goes on.
“We talked about the problems that happened in the Six Nations. The time we spent together as a team was invaluable in terms of preparation. That was a real plus. »
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:29 p.m.
Welsh captain, Jac Morgan, speaking after the match:
“I thought it was a great match. We dug deep in that first half when our discipline let us down along with a few mistakes. We let Fiji get into the game and credit for that: when they have the ball they put a lot of pressure on us. But the boys worked hard, especially in our defensive efforts.
On the defensive display at the end: “We can be very proud of it. We dug deep and we stayed together. We knew they were going to keep coming and we just had to keep defending and working hard for each other.
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:23 p.m.
FULL-TIME: Wales 32-26 Fiji
Contrasting emotions full time. Nick Tompkins celebrates, while Semi Radradra watches the bouncing ball that escaped him in the final moments of the match:
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:16 p.m.
FULL-TIME: Wales 32-26 Fiji
Welsh players celebrate as Fijians fall to their knees. They put up a stellar display and a brilliant fightback late on, but they simply fell short.
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:09 p.m.
FULL-TIME: Wales 32-26 Fiji
Fiji drive the players forward with the final play of the match, sending the Welsh defense left and right as they go in search of the winning try.
The Welsh defense is at six and seven as the ball comes out towards Radradra on the left wing with acres of space in front of him… but it’s hit! The bouncing ball goes unchecked and the full-time whistle blows.
Somehow Wales survived a massive victory over Fiji in week one.
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:02 p.m.
Wales 32-26 Fiji, 80 minutes
The clock goes red but they play. Liam Williams’ kick is launched to the max and Fiji have a lineout and another chance to get back up the field.
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:01 p.m.
TO TRY! Wales 32-26 Fiji, (Doge, 79 minutes)
The pressure repeats itself and Fiji has another one! From the penalty, Doge crashes at point blank range and this time it’s a given. The conversion is missed, so the deficit is six.
There’s one minute left to find another try…
Ben FlemingSeptember 10, 2023 10:00 p.m.