After reading an article on sarugbymag I was a little irritated by the author’s view that the Welsh win over Fiji was ‘unconvincing’ and that he felt the Welsh were ‘weary’. I saw a high quality game where neither team played below a very high standard of rugby. In fact it was one of the most entertaining matches I have seen in the 2015 RWC, it was a real lung-buster. Maybe not the high drama of Wales’s game five days ago, when they recorded a come from behind victory against England, but the quality of rugby in this match was superb.
The pace of the game and the length of the passages of play didn’t make me question if the Welsh were tired but rather had me admiring just how fit they are. It really opened up in the second half which allowed us to see Fiji produce some of their free spirited rugby that they are famous for.
Wales to their credit weathered the storm and came out with a win. They never got the bonus point but neither did Australia when they beat Fiji in match 11 of the 2015 RWC. Australia like Wales never did that well in the second half against the Pacific-Islanders.
Let us cast our minds back to the quarter-finals of the 2007 RWC and it took a try saving tackle by JP Pietersen to save South Africa against Fiji. Fiji unexpectedly beat Wales in the pool stages and Wales never advanced out of the pool. South Africa went on to win that RWC.
I question why people make judgements as they do. Are they making comments according to what they expected to see or are they making comments according to what they are actually seeing?
Fiji won 100% of the scrums from their own put in. Wales won 75% of the scrums on their own put in. Not what you would have expected? Fiji won 80% of their own lineout ball. Ok not a brilliant stat but relative to what we have come to expect of Pacific-Islanders’s set-pieces this is much improved especially against a 6 Nations team like Wales.
If you are a rugby lover, the way in which the Fijians turned it on in the second half must have delighted you. The try that Vereniki Goneva scored was exceptional, just the way the runners found the space and the way that the runners found their support.
Ben Volavola I thought had a great game he was masterful under the high ball and was a constant threat to the Welsh defence. Levani Botia played really well, he had 7 carries and made 55 metres plus he contributed with a tackle count of 14 but the stats don’t do justice to his involvement and impact. Another guy that seemed to be involved a great deal was Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
From a Welsh perspective they would be happy as the whole squad performed well and contributed to this vital win. The two Dan’s, Biggar and Lydiate stood out for me and the Welsh number 8 Toby Faletau.
Wales can now re-group, reflect and relax as they can watch England tear into Australia before Wales themselves face the Wallabies