Wales Overcomes a Determined Fiji to Advance to Quarterfinals

Wales came back in the first half to take a 14-10 lead over Fiji into the break. Wales added two tries after the match was tied at 17 all to win 29-17. The match was played on Wednesday 9 October at Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture.

With the win, Wales qualified for the quarterfinals and will meet either England or France.

Wales opened the RWC with a 43-14 win over Georgia, then defeated Australia 29-25. After the win over Fiji today, they finish pool play on Sunday against Uruguay.

Fiji opened with a 30-27 loss to Uruguay and then lost to Australia 39-21, before defeating Georgia 45-10. Fiji was a determine opponent and exit the RWC after the loss to Wales.

Both Wales and Australia have earned quarterfinal spots. Fiji could claim third place and qualify for the 2023 RWC should the Wallabies beat Georgia on Friday. A Georgia win would give the Lelos third.

Pool D standings have Wales topping the pool with 14 points, Australia with 11 points, Fiji 7, Georgia 5, and Uruguay 4.

Match Recap

Fiji opened the match playing inspired rugby and jumped out to a 5-0 lead after a try by wing Josua Tuisova in the right corner, as the conversion by Volavola sailed wide.

Following a yellow card by Wales hooker Ken Owens for a tip tackle, Fiji fullback Kini Murimurivalu added a second to push the lead to 10-0.

A shoulder charge by Fijian lock Tevita Cavubati sent him to the bin. Soon after Wales capitalized with a try by Josh Adams in the left corner with Dan Biggar adding the extras to cut the lead to 10-7.

Adams appeared to add another, but after a TMO, it was ruled that his foot went into touch prior to grounding.

After the return of Cavubati, discipline sent Semi Kunatani to the bin. Wales again took advantage of Fiji being a man down with Adams adding a brace and Biggar slotting to lead 14-10 at the break.

Second Half

Fiji had an sustained attack, but a forward pass gave the ball to Wales. A Yellow card to James Davies for being off his feet at the breakdown had Fiji kicking for territory and mauling from the lineout 5-meters from in-goal. Fiji mauled and a penalty try was awarded to reclaim the lead 17-14.

In the 56th minute, Liam Williams and Dan Biggar collided with Beggar exiting the match after an elbow to his head. After a penalty by Fiji, Rhys Patchell slotted a penalty goal to level the match at 17 all.

Fijian wing Radradra was all over the pitch with strong runs. Fiji advanced deep inside Welsh territory, but Volavola lost the ball forward.

Wales broke the tie in the61st minute after a Jonathan Davies break and a no-look pass to Josh Adams for a hat trick in the left corner for a 22-17 lead after Patchell’s kick bounced off the left post.

Wales added a final one with Gareth Davies offloading inside to Liam Williams for the bonus-point try with Patchell slotting the extras for a 29-17 win.

Fiji wing Semi Radradra was named Player of the Match. He carried 19 times for 140 meters and beat 7 defenders.

Wales qualified for the quarterfinals with the win, while Fiji exits the RWC needing to wait until Australia plays Georgia to determine whether they finish in third or fourth place. The Fijian nation will be cheering for a Wallabies win.

Squads & Match Preview

Wales: 1. Wyn Jones 2. Ken Owens 3. Tom Francis 4. Jake Ball 5. Alun Wyn Jones (capt.) 6. Josh Navidi 7. James Davies 8. Ross Moriarty 9. Gareth Davies 10. Dan Biggar 11. Josh Adams 12. Hadleigh Parkes 13. Jonathan Davies 14. George North 15. Liam Williams 16. Elliot Dee 17. Rhys Carre 18. Dillon Lewis 19. Aaron Shingler 20. Aaron Wainwright 21. Tomos Williams 22. Rhys Patchell 23. Owen Watkin

Fiji: 1. Campese Ma’afu 2. Samuel Matavesi 3. Manasa Saulo 4. Tevita Cavubati 5. Leone Nakarawa 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.) 7. Semi Kunatani 8. Viliame Mata 9. Frank Lomani 10. Ben Volavola 11. Semi Radradra 12. Lepani Botia 13. Waisea Nayacalevu 14. Josua Tuisova 15. Kini Murimurivalu 16. Mesulame Dolokoto 17. Eroni Mawi 18. Peni Ravai 19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa 20. Peceli Yato 21. Nikola Matawalu 22. Jale Vatubua 23. Josh Matavesi

Other Articles

DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant