Wales picked up their first bonus-point victory in the World Cup with a 81-7 hammering of Namibia in New Plymouth.
After the narrow 17-16 defeat to the Springboks and a close 17-10 win over Samoa in their opening group encounters, it was an easy outing for the Dragons against Namibia. Twenty-year-old inside centre Scott Williams was the standout performer as he was the first Welsh player to score a World Cup hat-trick in only his fifth Test.
There were also strong performances from Tongan-born No 8 Toby Faletau and highly rated prop Genthin Jenkins (who both cross the chalk) up front while replacement wing George North grabbed a brace and created several other tries after coming off the bench in the second half. Veteran flyhalf Stephen Jones excelled with the boot, only missing one out of eight kicks.
Namibia, featuring in their final match of the tournament, showed brief moments of impressive play on attack and defence. However, they folded midway through the second half as Wales totalled up seven of their 12 tries in the fourth quarter. The African minnows will now travel to Auckland, where they leave for home on Wednesday.
Wales’ dominance were set by their forwards, who had the upper hand over Namibia at the rucks and set-pieces. The backs also outshone their counterparts as they achieved 10 clean linebreaks.
Wales looked like they were going to seal their four-try bonus point early in the match after grabbing three tries by the 18th minute. However, they were met by a strong defensive showing by the Namibians, who held the score at 22-0 at half-time. But the floodgates opened in the second stanza, with nine tries scored. Namibia managed to grab a great consolation try through a great run by lock Heinz Koll, but their resistance took a massive blow when reserve prop Raoul Larson was yellow carded for frequent scrum transgressions.
The triumph gives Wales an easy route to the quarter-finals as they only need to beat an out-of-form Fiji in their last group fixture on Sunday. If the Springboks down Samoa on Friday, Wales will automatically qualify for the second round.
By Gareth Duncan