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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 13 October, 2019
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Liveblog

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Hey there. If you’re just joining us, we’re already in full – what Jamie Heaslip might call – flow as we liveblog through the morning’s rugby.

Scotland have just finished off a 61-o rout of Russia in Shizuoka, but this liveblog is all about Wales, who kick-off against a Fiji side keen to make a point in this tournament at 10.45.

Here’s your runners and riders.

Wales

Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies;

Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones; Josh Navidi, James Davies, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhs Carre, Dillon Lewis, Aaron Shingler, Aaron Wainwright, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin

Fiji

Kini Murimurivalu; Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu, Levani Botia, Semi Radrada; Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani;

Campese Ma’afu, Sam Matavesi, Manasa Saulo; Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa; Dominiko Waqaniburotu,  Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata. 

Replacements: Mesulame Dolokoto, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Peceli Yato, Nikola Matawalu, Jale Vatubua, Josh Matavesi

Anthems done, Fiji bring out the Cibi and we’re all set.

2Mins

KICK-OFF:

Wales under early pressure as Nakarawa and Botia run the ball back at them after a clearance.

An offload doesn’t quite go to hand and Wales can exit with a line-out. But positive from the Pacific Islanders.

4Mins

That is an unbelievable try from Josua Tuisova.

Fiji went to the short side off a scrum and Tuisova was utterly undeterred by the prospect of facing three defenders.

Cheslin Kolbe might have stepped them, Tuisova barged right in and through them as he reached out to ground the ball while Josh Navidi was trying to bundle him to touch.

7Mins

Josh Navidi thinks he’s in for a try as Wales pile the pressure on, but the TMO calls play back and says Hadleigh Parks’ pressure is actually a knock on.

Fiji stay in the lead despite North beating Volavola to the loose ball.

7Mins

Stay in the lead, and maybe doubling it.

Lomani runs in to dot down a score, but it’s forward.

Hold on though, Ken Owens is in the background of this replay, dangerously upending Mata.

7Mins

YELLOW CARD: Ken Owens

The TMO and Jerome Garces conclude that the hit from Owens to send Mata tumbling 90 degrees was worthy of a sin-bin.

11Mins

Another devastating display of power in the right-hand corner from Fiji’s back three. 

This time Tuisova is just watching on in support as the fullback Murimurivalu takes hold of the ball after Fiji attack wide and he bullocks through a tackle and recovers before he’s held and dots down.

Ben Volavola has missed both conversions, however, so Wales’ deficit is just 10.

17Mins

The pressure is still coming on Wales now, Mata smashing Hadleigh Parks and Biggar throwing a forward pass.

The penalty was called for red, though, so Gatland’s men can set up shop on the 10.

16Mins

Yellow Card: Tevita Cavubati

The TMO calls play back again and draws Garces’ attention to the lock’s clean-out. It’s deemed a shoulder charge to the back and we’ll play 14 on 14.

20Mins

The Principality get off the mark thanks to a lovely cross-field kick from Biggar. Josh Adams fields it to finish and Biggar knocks over the extras.

Wales 7 Fiji 10

22Mins

Ken Owens is back on the field and Biggar ensures Liam Williams finds his first bit of space off the restart.

Owens is involved as the set comes to an end with a forward pass after another bone-shuddering installment of Botia v Parkes, the Fijian planting another big hit on the Welsh centre.

24Mins

Frenetic pace to this game and Wales come close through another Biggar kick – a familiar chasing run for Parkes – but this time it just eludes the centre.

The red pack go again with a five-metre scrum in the left corner.

26Mins

Fiji clocking up the penalty count now from Garces. The crowd briefly roar on an Fiji intercept, but Biggar’s stolen kick only came about because of an advantage. 

The forwards go again…

The scrum forces a penalty and they might have held on for a penalty try, but went wide for Adams. The wing seems to be in touch before he dots down.

26Mins

It was a lot closer than it initially looked, but no try is the call and we go back for another scrum after the previous penalty.

Fiji’s pack is restored to eight, but they must be getting fatigued.

29Mins

A little Irish-style attack from Wales now after a second cut at the line from Adams came up short.

The put the big boys rumbling through the phases, but Fiji’s defence is standing up to the test, forcing the red waves backwards.

Another penalty comes from the effort, unfortunately, and the persistent infringing earns a yellow card.

SIN-BIN: Kunatani.

Fiji will now spend about 20 out of 22 minutes with 14 men.

33Mins

Wales have a good rattle at the door and then find a way around it. Again Adams is the man they go to out wide and they make the man advantage count.

Biggar is in serious goal-kicking form and Wales are clearly in the ascendancy now.

Wales 14 Fiji 10

38Mins

Fiji down, but they have plenty more to offer. After a contentious Welsh knock on, they attack from a central scrum.

Lovely mix of tempos and Volavola chips ahead for Radradra to gather on the left. They flow back to the right as the phase count crosses into double figures, but the 10′s skip pass to Mata is yards forward.

42Mins

The second half is off and running and it’s a promsiing opening from the Grand Slam winners.

Liam Williams finds the first half-break and Wales flow forward fluidly with forwards passing in wide channels before James Davies is turned over for a penalty.

44Mins

Penalty advantage in the offing for Fiji as they mount a multi-pass attack midfield that Wales manage to keep to negligible yards gain.

47Mins

Volavola kicks the eventual penalty into the Welsh 22. Line-out can give Fiji a big impetus boost in this contest.

48Mins

Wales’ defence and breakdown is keeping this from turning into a Fiji fiesta. James Davies does well in front of his own posts, getting in over the ball to force a relieving penalty.

49Mins

And as I say that, Murimurivalu and Radradra link up in the corner for a possible try.

Our TMO is not going to let this game pass him by, however, and we can chalk another score off for a forward pass.

53Mins

YELLOW CARD: James Davies

Fiji’s dominance in possession is piling real pressure on Wales now and, having been so effective legally a few minutes ago, the openside illegally kills the momentum and walks the walk.

25 minutes to go and Wales have been dragged right into the mixer.

Williams and Adams make attempts to cut through the line, but they keep getting thwarted and Fiji force a turnover.

The ball goes high and Dan Biggar and Liam Williams move to contest it, but the out-half is caught by a sickening blow from his team-mate’s hip.

He looks to have been knocked out long before he hits the ground and the fullback lands on him then too.

56Mins

Rhys Patchell is on as Biggar picks himself up and runs to the touchline. With a concussion, however, there is no guaranteed return time from injury. So Wales will hope to see their 10 pass his protocols in the coming days.

58Mins

PENALTY! Wales 17 Fiji 17 (Patchell ’57)

The replacement steps up and slots one over from 40 metres. No harm for him and certainly good for Wales to pull level.

62Mins

Absolutely brilliant from Jonathan Davies, unleashing a big hand off as a made a break for the corner.

He offloads to Adams and, despite Davies being sent tumbling into his path, the wing manages to finish off his hat-trick.

Patchell’s conversion attempt is off target.

64Mins

It looks as though Davies fall into Adams’ path was more than just a tumble. The Lions centre is struggling since creating that go-ahead score.

66Mins

Fiji ain’t going away. Tuisova makes another big burst through bodies up the middle and Radradra is finding space when he embarks on big arcing runs with the ball in two hands.

They can’t realistically qualify, but can they force another shock against Wales. 

That must be the game finally safe for Wales. Williams breaks in and under the posts.

Wales 29 Fiji 17

79Mins

Fiji, for all their invention and ability, haven’t been able to break open that formidable Welsh defence since Williams went over.

Two minutes on the clock now and Wales are a win over Uruguay away from securing top spot in Pool D.

And that is the last we’ll see of Fiji at this World Cup, unfortunately. Their loss to Uruguay means they bow out with seven points from four games in Pool D.

The bonus point win leaves Wales top of the pile, three ahead of Australia. So barring an astonishing collapse against Uruguay, Warren Gatland’s men will progress as pool winners and – most likely – face France in the quarter-finals.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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