Wales beat Fiji to close in on quarter-finals

9:22 am on 2 October 2015

Wales have all but booked themselves a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals by digging deep to hold off a lively Fiji 23-13 in a breathless Pool A clash in Cardiff.

Try scorer Gareth Davies of Wales is congrautulated by Taulupe Faletau.

Try scorer Gareth Davies of Wales is congrautulated by Taulupe Faletau. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Wales established a 17-6 half-time lead with tries from halfback Gareth Davies and hooker Scott Baldwin, but the Pacific Islanders struck back through centre Vereniki Goneva.

Look back at our Live match commentary here.

The result means hosts England must beat Australia on Sunday morning to stay in with a realistic chance of making it out of the 'Group of Death'.

If England do win, however, Wales may rue missed try-scoring chances against Fiji which could have earned them a bonus point.

Fiji have not won any of their first three games at the tournament, despite producing several impressive performances.

Wales had to face Fiji five days after their epic win over England and captain Sam Warburton said the match was one of the hardest he's played.

"It was extremely tough," Warburton said. "We were shattered after the England game. I felt knackered in the first half and I thought (coach) Warren (Gatland) was going to take me off as I was running too slowly."

Although Wales failed to earn a bonus-point, Warburton said that was not a major issue.

"It is disrespectful to Fiji to talk about a bonus-point," he said.

"After the turn-around we had and because we knew Fiji are a completely different team now.

"Credit to Fiji they made it very difficult for us, breaking the line and forcing us to make a lot of tackles."

Gatland was also very satisfied with his team, who lead Pool A with three wins out of three before their last match against Australia.

"It was a really tough physical encounter," he said. "Absolutely delighted with the win and given the short turn-around we had the players had to dig really deep."

Having suffered a raft of injuries recently, Gatland was pleased to get through without further problems.

"We have some sore battered bodies but think we came through ok," he said.

"The guys are pretty tired. We played pretty well and dominated the first half. It was about winning the game and the courage we displayed was the important thing."

Wales will qualify for the quarter-finals if Australia beat England on Sunday morning but New Zealander Gatland will not be cheering too loudly for the Wallabies.

"It's a bit hard for a Kiwi to be jumping up and down for the Aussies," he said, "Though it'd be handy if they'd do us a favour."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.