Robinson plucks Wales out of Fiji horror show

Wales 11 Fiji 10

Until then a packed stadium had watched in horror as Mike Ruddock's men had threatened to wipe away all the glory of last season's campaign. If last Saturday's All Black stuffing had brought them back to earth then a loss to the courageous but ultimately chaotic Fijians could very well have sent Welsh rugby six feet under. They have Nicky Robinson's drop-goal five minutes from time to thank for capping a final-quarter surge that spared three million blushes.

Whatever the value of those three points, however, one calamitous hour will live long in the memory of the heroic Fijians and those Welshman who unwisely choose not to visit their therapists in the next few days.

It took 39 minutes until the scoreboard started ticking and even then it was a second rower, Iferemi Rawaqa, who had to run 60 yards to do so.

If it had not been for the misfiring boot of Julian Vulakoro, who missed three kickable penalties in the first 17 minutes, Wales would have gone in even further behind, though Robinson did miss two of Wales's own - one straight in front of the posts in the 26th minute. That was typical of a first half that seemed destined to finish 0-0 until Rawaqa, the 6ft 5in lock who plays in Japan, found himself on the end of sumptuous handling movement before outpacing Alix Popham to go under the posts.

The Wales players were booed off at half-time, and began the second half in a similar vein to the first - ie bleeding. Seremaia Bai brought a bit of order to a rapidly deteriorating game in the 54th minute with a left-footed drop-goal to make it 10-0.

Michael Owen, the Welsh captain, opted to take the three points when Wales were awarded a penalty five metres out in the 57th minute and Robinson nervously popped it over. That blew the fire from Fiji and when Isoa Domolailai was sin-binned seven minutes later, their scrum was 18 stone the lighter and Owen's pushover try was inevitable, but Robinson pulled his conversion wide.

Wales: Tries Owen. Pen Robinson. Drop goal Robinson. Fiji: Try Rawaqa. Con Vulakoro. Drop goal Bai.

Wales: L Byrne (Llanelli Scarlets); K Morgan (Newport-Gwent Dragons), M Watkins (Llanelli Scarlets), S Parker (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); N Robinson (Cardiff Blues), G Cooper (Newport-Gwent Dragons); J Yapp (Blues), R Thomas (Cardiff Blues), C Horsman (Warriors), B Cockbain (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport-Gwent Dragons), D Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), M Owen (Newport-Gwent Dragons, capt). Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), R Sidoli (Cardiff Blues), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), R Sowden-Taylor (Cardiff Blues), M Phillips (Cardiff Blues), C Sweeney (Newport-Gwent Dragons).

Fiji: N Ligairi (Yamaha, Japan); M Luveitasau (Rosi, Naitasiri), E Ruivadra (Dravo, Tailevu), J Vulakoro (Navosa), S Bobo (Parma, Italy); S Bai (Secom, Japan), M Rauluni (Saracens); J Bale (Marist, Suva), S Koto (Marist, Suva), A Nagi (Tropik Wood, Lautoka), I Rawaqa (Vuda, Lautoka), I Domolailai (Auckland Marist), A Doviverata (Yamaha, Japan), A Ratuva (PWD Lines, Tailevu), S Koyamaibole (Taranaki, NZ). Replacements: V Gadolo (Lomaiviti, Suva), T Matawalu (Cagimaira), K Leawere (Ruatoria City, NZ), K Salabogi, M Volavola (Ravuka, Nadroga), A Vata (NMA, Nadi), K Ratuou (PWD Lines, Tailevu).

Referee: R Dickson (Scotland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn