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Wales take another step towards quarter-finals

Wales take another step towards quarter-finals

Wales showed their class to see off a resilient Fiji 23-13 and move a step closer to the Rugby World Cup knockout stages.

Wales showed their class to see off a resilient Fiji 23-13 and move a step closer to the Rugby World Cup knockout stages.

Man-of-the-match Gareth Davies and Scott Baldwin each touched down in the first-half while Matthew Morgan shone on his first international start.

Niki Goneva scored after the break to make things interesting but Dan Biggar’s boot saw Wales through, moving them top of Pool A – seven points better off than England, who play second-placed Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Full-back Morgan passed his first test, collecting an early clearance and feeding British & irish Lions winger George North, who somehow found his way from the halfway line to the Fijian five-metre.

A period of Welsh pressure followed and the first try arrived on eight minutes, scrum-half Davies sniping around the side of the ruck and Biggar converting.

Fiji at last began to enjoy some possession outside their own 22 and when they were awarded a scrum penalty, Ben Volavola floated his 45-metre effort from near the right touchline between the posts.

A second penalty soon followed for a Welsh infringement in the lineout but, from much closer this time, Volavola sent it wide – Biggar soon showed him how it’s done to restore the seven-point lead.

Morgan then made a clean break from inside his own half but when the ball eventually found Taulupe Faletau – winning his 50th Wales cap – he was hauled down just short of the line and pinged for not releasing.

Shortly after North thought he had scored that second try with a pick-and-go from close range but TMO George Ayoub spotted a Bradley Davies infringement in the build-up.

It arrived on the half-hour, though. Quick hands from Biggar sent Tyler Morgan towards the line and when he was halted, hooker Baldwin squirmed over by the left touchline for the fly-half to convert.

Volavola then slotted a straightforward scrum penalty and, after resisting a powerful Welsh rolling maul, Fiji went into the break 17-6 behind.

Volavola fluffed his lines with another simple penalty early in the second half but Fiji soon made amends with a superb team try.

Incisive running had the Welsh defence all at sea and the final offload from Timoci Nagusa fed Goneva to slide over, Volavola converting.

Biggar sent a long-range penalty creeping over the crossbar but Fiji fought back once more through Leone Nakarawa, a customary carry and offload from the giant second row causing havoc.

They duly escaped and Biggar eased the tension with a penalty but Rhys Priestland – his replacement – kicked for touch instead of adding another five minutes from time.

The decision looked to have paid off as British & Irish Lions centre Roberts piled over in the corner, only for the TMO to rule it had been held up, but Wales had done enough.

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