Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales 23-13 Fiji

By Richard WilliamsBBC Wales Sport at the Millennium Stadium
Gareth Davies scores his fourth try of the tournament
Gareth Davies scored his fourth try of the tournament
Wales (17) 23
Tries: Davies, Baldwin Cons: Biggar 2 Pens: Biggar 3
Fiji (6) 13
Try: Goneva Con: Volavola Pens: Volavola 2

Wales took a huge step closer to the World Cup quarter-finals by beating Fiji in a breathless Pool A clash.

Warren Gatland's team scored tries through scrum-half Gareth Davies and hooker Scott Baldwin, with 13 points from fly-half Dan Biggar's boot, but missed a bonus point.

But Fiji struck back after the break with Vereniki Goneva rounding off a stunning 60-yard move.

Fiji paid for small mistakes, with Ben Volavola missing two easy penalties.

Pool A as it stands

The Rugby World Cup maths

The result means Wales will reach the quarter-finals if Australia beat England at Twickenham on Saturday.

However if Stuart Lancaster's team beat the Wallabies, Wales will probably need to beat Australia on 10 October.

England's final game later that evening is against Pool A minnows Uruguay and a bonus-point win is almost a formality for the hosts in Manchester.

If England finish on the same number of points as Gatland's team, Wales will go through thanks to their 28-25 win at Twickenham.

However, if Australia also finish on the same number of points as England and Wales then the top two will be decided on points difference.

It's still all to play for

If Wales had scored four tries and won a bonus point, it would have meant England needing to gain a winning bonus point against the Wallabies.

But Wales never looked like being in that position, and were made to work hard for the win. Fiji came at them strongly after the interval as the home team lost a little of the composure they had shown in the first half.

Matthew Morgan's first-half line-breaks helped Wales take a commanding early lead
Full-back Matthew Morgan's first-half line-breaks helped Wales take a commanding early lead

A flying start

Fiji resisted Wales' rapid start for seven minutes before Scarlets scrum-half Davies threw an outrageous dummy and touched down between the posts.

But with their scrum creaking in the face of a ferocious Fijian onslaught, Sam Warburton's men struggled to subdue the Pacific Islanders.

Fiji stood up well to Wales' driving line-out, and broke dangerously from their own half with Crusaders-bound fly-half Volavola and wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma embarrassing defenders with their elusive running.

But Wales established some control before the interval when the outstanding Biggar was involved twice in a move which ended with hooker Baldwin squeezing over for Wales' second try.

Goneva went over following a 60m move
Fiji outside centre Goneva went over following a 60-metre move

A different story after the break

Fiji's resistance turned into downright aggression after the break as Wales' kicking game lost its accuracy and the visitors ran at Wales with relish.

When Goneva's sublime try was converted by Volavola, Wales' lead was down to four points and they were showing the effects of just four days' rest after their win over England.

Biggar restored order with two penalties to take his tournament tally to 36 points before limping off with cramp.

But despite Gareth Davies and Alex Cuthbert closely missing out on further tries, Wales were happy with the win.

Man of the match

Scrum-half Gareth Davies got the nod, but Taulupe Faletau, Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate all had good shouts, as did Fiji's Goneva.

More from rugby:
Wales 'courage' impresses Gatland
Wales v Fiji as it happened
Listen to the key moments
Failure lies with me - Lancaster

The teams

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

Replacements: Ken Owens for Scott Baldwin (54), Aaron Jarvis for Gethin Jenkins (66), Samson Lee for Tomas Francis (49), Luke Charteris for Bradley Davies (13-26; 66), Justin Tipuric for Dan Lydiate (68), Lloyd Williams for Alex Cuthbert (19-26), Rhys Priestland for Dan Biggar (72), James Hook for Matthew Morgan (70).

Fiji: Metuisela Talebula; Timoci Nagusa, Vereniki Goneva, Levani Botia, Aseli Tikoirotuma; Ben Volavola, Nemia Kenatale; Campese Ma'afu, Sunia Koto, Manasa Saulo, Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Akapusi Qera (capt), Netani Talei

Replacements: Viliame Veikoso for Sunia Koto (74), Peni Ravia for Campese Ma'afu (76), Leeroy Atalifo for Manasa Saulo (76), Nemia Soqeta for Tevita Cavubuti (68), Malakai Ravulo for Dominiko Waqaniburotu (68), Henry Seniloli for Nemia Kenatale (70), Joshua Matavesi for Vereniki Goneva (70), Kini Murimurivalu for Levani Botia (74).

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