Wales overpower sorry Fiji

Sunday 2 October 2011, 9:36PM

By Rugby World Cup 2011



Wales coach Warren Gatland said it was mission accomplished after his team overpowered Fiji to win 66-0 and claim second place in Pool D and a quarter-finals berth.

The Welsh, who finished three points behind South Africa with 15, were too strong for a mistake-ridden Fiji at Waikato Stadium on Sunday.

Fiji failed to get going and when they looked like making inroads, they invariably coughed up the ball. This was their heaviest Rugby World Cup defeat.

Gatland said: "We knew we were in a really, really tough group. The first goal was to win a few games in this group and make the quarter-finals.

"We've achieved that so it's just one game at a time now."

Gatland's side, who will face Australia or Ireland in the last eight, gained the bonus point for four tries through skipper Sam Warburton on the stroke of half-time.

Surging forward

Fiji began the second spell 31-0 down, but looked good as they surged forward and were on attack for a number of minutes. They were eventually frustrated when they turned the ball over well inside Wales' 22m.

Then, on 51 minutes Jamie Roberts benefited from some nice backline inter-play to score his second try of the match. Priestland kept up his good kicking form to convert, and Wales were up 38-0.

Replacement hooker Lloyd Burns got the ball back from a Welsh lineout and burrowed over to make it 43-0 and fellow replacement Stephen Jones converted.

Soon after, Fiji were under the Wales crossbar, but they again lost the ball for the Dragons to clear.

The half-century was brought up in almost comical fashion. Fiji gave up the ball inside the Wales 22 and prop Gethin Jenkins kicked down the field. Fiji wing Albert James Vulivuli got a wicked bounce, which allowed Leigh Halfpenny to pick the ball up and he strolled over the line.

Another replacement, scrum half Lloyd Williams scampered over from a ruck to make it 57-0 and Stephen Jones kept up the accurate Welsh place kicking by converting.

Perfect conversations

The ninth try of the match was scored by Jonathan Davies at the death and Stephen Jones continued the 100 per cent record of conversion attempts.

The opening phases of the match were notable for some thrusting Wales' attacks and hard Fiji tackling.

But Fiji were having trouble in the set plays and it was from a botched lineout that Roberts waltzed through the defence to score in the sixth minute. Priestland converted.

Wales increased their lead in the 17th minute when Scott Williams scored his fourth try of RWC 2011 when he was on the end of the backline and made it to the line, hugging the left touchline. Priestland converted and Wales were up 14-0.

Four minutes later Fiji's defensive discipline lost its way with a penalty for offside, converted by Priestland for 17-0.

George North was next on the board in the 32nd minute after an exchange of passes through the backline - one suspicious of being forward.

North raced through the final remnants of the Fiji defence to dot down, Priestland converting.