Wales wallop Islanders

Wales were too strong for the Pacific Islanders in Cardiff, winning 38-20.

Wales led 24-0 after 28 minutes and only a late fightback, which resulted in three tries for the visitors gave the scoreline some kind of sanity. reports that Welsh coach Gareth Jenkins finally tasted success as the Wales coach as his charges overcame a gallant Pacific Islands line-up.

After back-to-back defeats on the tour to Argentina in the summer and the draw against Australia, the Jenkins revolution got off the ground with a 38-20 victory at the Millennium Stadium.

The Welsh scored five tries through Mark Jones, James Hook, Kevin Morgan, Lee Byrne and Ceri Sweeney – who collected 18 points in total – but the Islanders certainly played their part in an entertaining affair.

As you would expect from a side made up of players from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, the visitors combined some massive hits with some superb, off-the-cuff rugby – and the predictable result was one sin-binning and three tries.

Justin Va’a, Seilala Mapusua and Kameli Ratuvou crossed for tries, while Tusi Pisi was shown a yellow card, but unfortunately, they just lacked the cohesion to truly trouble their hosts.

A slow start, something you would expect from a side still in its infancy on the international stage, saw the Islanders 24-0 down after 28 minutes – and it could have been worse.

A Sweeney penalty after three minutes got Wales on their way, before Mike Phillips was only denied by the sprawling bodies of two defenders when he crossed from close range.

The video referee was needed to rule out that effort and he was called into action again on 14 minutes. Llanelli winger Mark Jones showed terrific pace, power and composure to hold off two would-be tacklers as he raced down the touchline. However, there was an anxious wait for the 27-year-old before the try was awarded.

Sweeney converted and then added the extras as new Welsh wonder-boy Hooks raced in from 45 metres out after intercepting a wayward pass.

Things were looking grim for the tourists when Morgan scored after 28 minutes and Sweeney converted – but the Islanders showed their fighting spirit to score their first try in Europe.

Va’a, a burly prop, was never going to be denied from close range, with two Welsh tacklers clinging on for dear life as he powered over.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Seilala Mapusua’s pass was intercepted with Byrne sprinting 50 metres before diving over. Sweeney added the extras.

Wales kept up the pressure after the break, but it was the Islanders who were next to score as Mapusua made amends for his earlier blunder. An enterprising break took the visitors to the 22 and with the Welsh defence drawn in, the centre ghosted over on the blindside.

The Wales response was instant as Sweeney topped his superb display with a try and conversion – the No 10 following up on Mark Jones’ breakaway to score.

With half-hour to play, 60 points seemed a distinct possibility, but the Islanders dug in and finished the game in fine style.

Pisi slotted over a penalty before they scored a well-deserved third try. The talented Kameli Ratuvou broke through one tackle before showing the home defence a clean pair of heels to score.

Pisi converted before he was sin-binned with five minutes left, and although Shane Willia