Rugby World Cup 2011: Sam Warburton hails 'ruthless' Wales

Sam Warburton bursts clear
Sam Warburton bursts clear against Fiji in Hamilton

Captain Sam Warburton was delighted with Wales' "ruthless" 66-0 World Cup win over Fiji that confirmed their quarter-final place.

The flanker was one of Wales' nine Pool D try-scorers in Hamilton

Warburton said: "We said we wanted to be ruthless from one to 80 and put in a good performance throughout."

Coach Warren Gatland said: "I'm really proud; tough conditions, but I thought the boys went out and gave a really balanced performance."

Gatland was equally pleased that his side emerged from a group including previous World Cup tormentors Samoa as well as their Fijian neighbours plus South Africa and Namibia.

Wales began their Pool D campaign with a 17-16 defeat by the Springboks before seeing off Samoa's challenge 17-10 and hammering Namibia 81-7.

"That was the target coming here," said Gatland.

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

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

"We worked really hard in the off season, and we said we're too big, too fit, too powerful and hopefully too smart not to progress, so we wanted to be ruthless.

"We spoke at half-time about what good teams would do with that kind of score.

"They would not take their foot off the pedal, and I thought we did that.

"The pleasing thing from our point of view was we were in front. We could have easily slacked off, conceded a couple of tries, but we kept working until the 80th minute.

"But we are under no illusions. We know that Fiji made 10 changes, so we need to make sure we don't get too carried away with the result and just keep perspective."

Warburton believes Wales' defensive efforts were also praiseworthy as they kept Fiji try-less and scoreless.

"Credit to Fiji, they kept pushing and had a lot of territory, but our defence held strong and that was a target for us," said the Cardiff Blue.

"Everybody put in a good shift. We played in the right areas. There are a couple of mistakes we can look back on but all in all we can be pretty happy with that."

However, Warburton admitted Wales can improve on some areas.

"A couple of silly penalties and handling errors [need addressing], maybe trying a little bit too much and getting ahead of ourselves, but we won by 66 points so we can't complain really," said Warburton.

"Everybody put in a good shift. We played the game well, we played in the right areas and we are very pleased.

"That ruthlessness the coach talked about has been drilled into the boys. Not kicking it out at the end, but going for the tries, shows the ambition of this team."

Wales' 19-year-old wing George North was among the try-scorers and said: "After today we've got more to prove and more to live up to.

"We have proved we are a team that can compete in this competition. We are over the moon with this win, and we will take it forward from here.

"It [North's Wales career) has only been a short time, but I've loved every minute of it. Hopefully, that continues.

"But for now, I will just keep doing what I am doing and hopefully I will be on the team sheet."

Fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked 13 points and said: "We've got a massive task next week, and hopefully we can bring the same intensity.

"We have a confident group and I think we back ourselves against any team we come up against."

Fiji captain Netani Talei offered: "It's upsetting, but at the end of the day we have to give respect to the Welsh boys.

"They deserved the win, they were hungry for it, so hats off to them."