A hat-trick from winger Josh Adams and a late try from Liam Williams saw Wales pick up a bonus-point win against a resilient Fijian outfit.
The Fijians came flying out of the blocks and were in for their opening try of the game with just four minutes on the clock as they sent the ball out right to Josua Tuisova, who power through three defenders to touch down in the corner. Ben Volavola failed with the touchline kick but it was an incredible start by the men in white.
Things got worse for Wales on eight minutes as hooker Ken Owens was shown a yellow-card for a dangerous tackle and Fiji took full advantage.
By the tenth minute Fiji had their second try as full-back Kini Murimurivalu finished off some great play by bursting through a gap in the defensive line to score. However, Volavola again missed the extras.
Despite their impressive start Fiji began to lose control of the game and went down to 14-men themselves when Tevita Cavubati was sin-binned for a shoulder charge at ruck-time.
A minute later and Wales made their extra man count as Dan Biggar sent a cross-field kick to the left-hand side where Adams caught the ball and put the ball down. Biggar was perfect with the touchline kick to make it 10-7.
Ten minutes on and Fiji received their second yellow-card of the match as Semi Kunatani was sent to the sin-bin following a number of penalty concessions by his side.
Within two minutes Wales took the lead as the Welsh sent the ball out left to Adams, who got over for his second try. Biggar converted once again in what was the final score of the half as Wales went in 14-10 up at the whistle.
In the second-half it was Fiji who again started brighter and their cause was helped when James Davies was handed a yellow-card for not moving away at a ruck.
Fiji made the most of their one man advantage once more when they drove towards the Welsh line from a maul which was taken down, seeing them receive a penalty try and putting them 17-14 up.
A couple of minutes later and Biggar was taken off with a concussion in what is a big worry for Wales as they head further into the tournament.
However, his replacement Rhys Patchell made an instant impact as he hammered over a long-range penalty a minute after coming on to draw the sides level.
Just after the hour mark and Wales’ Jonathan Davies made a lovely break through the defence and racing into the left-corner before sending a brilliant offload to Adams, who dived, touched the ball down and completed his hat-trick. Patchell couldn’t provide the extras leaving it at 22-17.
Wales secured the win with ten minutes remaining as scrum-half Gareth Davies darted through the Fijian defence and then passing to Williams who put the ball down beside the posts. Patchell converted to put 12 points between the sides.
Fiji tried to grab another score but they couldn’t gather a score to seal a bonus-point as the game finished 29-17.
Wales will now look to end their pool stage with a 100% record when they take on Uruguay on Sunday, while for Fiji it is the end of a disappointing World Cup.
Wales Player Ratings
Wyn Jones (7), Ken Owens (6), Tomas Francis (7), Jake Ball (7), Alun Wyn Jones (7), Josh Navidi (7), James Davies (6), Ross Moriarty (7), Gareth Davies (7), Dan Biggar (7), Josh Adams (9), Hadleigh Parkes (7), Jonathan Davies (8), George North (7), Liam Williams (8)
Jones Makes Spy Claims After England Training
England head coach Eddie Jones has made some big claims following his side’s training session earlier today
England head coach Eddie Jones has claimed that someone was spying on his team’s training session earlier today in Japan.
Jones’ England are preparing for the biggest game of their Rugby World Cup campaign so far as they face the All Blacks on Saturday. However, Jones has made a claim that someone was filming his side during training but that he has nothing to hide.
“There was definitely someone in the apartment block (across from the training ground) filming, it might have been a Japanese fan. You just don’t need to do it anymore. You can watch everyone’s training on Youtube. There’s absolutely no value in that anymore. Don’t care, mate. Don’t care. We knew from the start that they were filming and it doesn’t change anything we do. We have two security guards – Prince Harry’s… and the ex-Prime Minister’s. Only those two. Lovely blokes,” he said.
The Aussie also admitted that he used to spy on team’s years ago but that he doesn’t see the point anymore.
“We used to do it [secretly film opposition training sessions]. I haven’t done it since 2001. There’s no need. Everyone knows what everyone else does. There are no surprises in world rugby anymore,” he added.
In a press conference filled with madness from Jones he also stated that most of New Zealand’s media reporters are “fans with keyboards”.
Jones is known for playing mind-games before matches and has heaped the pressure on the All Blacks saying that his side have nothing to lose while their opposition have the weight of the world on their shoulders and it will be tough for them to be mentally prepared.
“We don’t have any pressure, mate. No one thinks we can win. There are 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. They [the All Blacks] have got to be thinking, they’re looking for a third straight World Cup, so there will be pressure there. I don’t think they are vulnerable but the pressure is real. The busiest guy for them will be Gilbert Enoka. They will be talking about it the whole week. It’s potentially the last game for their greatest ever coach (Steve Hansen), and for their greatest ever captain (Kieran Read),” he finished.
England and Jones will need to play the perfect game on Saturday when they take on the All Blacks on Saturday as the Kiwi’s are chasing a third successive Rugby World Cup title and it looks as though Jones will be trying to unsettle them before a ball is even kicked.
Hansen Explains Read’s Absence at Training
All Blacks captain Kieran Read was nowhere to be seen during the team’s training on Tuesday but head coach Steve Hansen has explained the situation
New Zealand are preparing for their Rugby World Cup semi-final showdown with England on Saturday and while the rest of the squad were training Read was absent with concerns growing over his availability but Hansen insists that the back-rower will be fit for the last-four clash.
“There is no issue. You didn’t see him train because he was in the gym on the bike. He got a tight calf from the game the other day and we didn’t want to put him out on a wet track today. Yeah, 100 per cent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hansen has admitted that replacement forward Matt Todd will definitely not be available this weekend due to injury but should be in contention for next weekend.
“He is making good progress but not fast enough so he won’t be available (for the England game). He should be right if we are lucky enough to play another game next week,” he added.
With the game seeing two of the games best coaches line-up against each other in Eddie Jones and Hansen, the latter thinks that it would be stupid not to expect his opposite number to have a few tricks up his sleve ahead of the game.
“We got the same question from the Irish last week. You’ll be naïve as a coach not to expect the opposition to do something different. That is their job. You practise it and you implement it. If it works, you are a superstar and if it doesn’t you’re an idiot. It’s a fine line we live, us coaches,” he finished.
New Zealand are looking to make it to yet another World Cup final with victory on Saturday as they continue their quest to win three Webb Ellis Cup’s in a row. However, they know that it will be no easy task against an English side in full flight and fans will be hoping their star captain will be available when the teams are announced later in the week.
Officials Confirmed for RWC Semi-Finals
World Rugby have announced the officials that will take charge of this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals
World Rugby have confirmed that Nigel Owens and Jerome Garces will be the referees for this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan.
Following yesterday’s controversy surrounding South African referee Jaco Peyper, where he was pictured posing with Welsh fans and appeared to be mocking the sending off of France forward Sebastien Vahaamahina, World Rugby confirmed that he was not considered for selection.
That means that Wales’ Owens will take charge of England’s clash with reigning back to back World Cup holders the All Blacks on Saturday, with French duo of Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere as his assistants. While South Africa’s Marius Jonker is the TMO.
Meanwhile French referee Garces will be the man in the middle of Wales’ last four showdown with the Springboks on Sunday, with England’s Wayne Barnes and New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe as his assistants. Fellow Kiwi Ben Skeen will take to role of TMO.
Speaking on the appointments chairman of World Rugby Sir Bill Beaumont congratulated those selected explaining they are the best in the business.
“I would like to congratulate Nigel and Jérôme, the assistant referees and TMOs on their selection for the semi-finals. These are the best of the best, supported by a superb team, and we now look forward to compelling semi-finals at International Stadium Yokohama over the weekend,” he said.
The officials were selected after a review of their performances so far in the tournament as well as making it a neutral selection for each game. As for Peyper it remains to be seen what his full punishment will be following an investigation by World Rugby.
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