Wales vs Fiji match report: Misfiring Dragons stumble to win over 14-man Fiji

Wales 17 Fiji 13: Campese Ma’afu sent-off for two yellow cards but Wales fail to register a point after half-time

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The Independent Online

Wales stumbled to victory against 14 men and failed to engender any confidence that they can produce a first win over the All Backs in 61 years next week.

On the plus side, George North and Alex Cuthbert continued their impressive scoring records at Test level with first-half tries before the Wales pack earned a penalty try for the second week in a row.

Yet the misfiring Dragons failed to trouble the scoreboard after the break despite playing all but seven minutes of the second half against 14 men, following two yellow cards for the former Cardiff prop Campese Ma’afu.

Instead, Fiji scored the only points when Nemani Nadolo intercepted Rhys Priestland for a late try which did little to convince the critics to stop booing the fly-half.  Saturday’s opponents, New Zealand, will sleep easy this week.

“We are frustrated because the endeavour was there but we turned over too much ball and were not clinical enough,” said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

“From looking in the first half like it could be a blow-out, it ended up a dog fight.”

This display has probably made Gatland’s next selection even easier. The only silver lining was provided by man-of-the-match Liam Williams at full-back.


Wales: L Williams; A Cuthbert, S Williams, J Roberts, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins (N Smith, 66),  S Baldwin, S Lee (R Jones, 59), B Davies, L Charteris (AW Jones, 66), D Lydiate (J King, 59), J Tipuric, T Faletau.

Fiji: M Talebula; W Nayacalevu, V Goneva, N Nadolo,  A Tikoirituma (T Nagusa, 73); J Matevesi, N Matawalu  (H Seniloli, 73); C Ma’afu, S Koto, M Saulo (I Colata, 73),  L Nakarawa (N Sogeta, 71) T Cavubati, D Waganiburotu  (M Ravulo, 73), A Oera, M Matadigo (J Yanuvanutawa,  (43-46, 61).

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France).