Wales ended Fiji’s disappointing World Cup campaign with 66-0 hiding in Hamilton.
It was four years ago when Fiji picked up an upset 38-34 win over Wales to give the Dragons an early exit at the last tournament in France. However, so much has changed since that game in Nantes – and it could clearly be seen on the field and scoreboard.
Wales have showcased some great young talent, with wing George North, No 8 Toby Faletau and centre Scott Williams shining early in their careers, while key men in captain Sam Warbuton, inside centre Jamie Roberts and wing Leigh Halfpenny have set the example when called upon. Fiji only have three suriviours from the 2007 World Cup, and the lack of quality and team chemistry in the current squad was exposed.
Wales were dominant in the opening 40, securing their four-try bonus point before the break. With their forwards holding the ascendancy up front, the backline flourished as centre pair Roberts and Williams grabbed a try apiece inside the first quarter. North and Warbuton finished the first half rout while flyhalf Rhys Priestland added all the extras and a penalty for a 31-0 half-time lead.
Wales completed the whitwashing in the second stanza with another five tries. Roberts completed his brace while replacement hooker Lloyd Burns, wing Leigh Halfpenny, reserve scrumhalf Lloyd Williams and replacement centre Jonathan Davies also dotted down for a try tally of nine. The kickers played their part too, with Priestland and Stephen Jones finishing a flawless kicking display.
Fiji had opportunities to score, but their poor finishing they was met by a resilient Welsh defence. Wales also frustrated the Islanders at the breakdown, making 11 turnovers and conceding 11 penalties – which was enough to stifle Fiji’s threat.
By Gareth Duncan