Rugby-Wobbly Wales labour to 38-23 win as Fiji see red

Centre Waisea Nayacalevu scored two tries for Fiji, who led 23-14 on the hour mark, as they were left to rue a deserved 28-minute red card for wing Eroni Sau, without which the scoreline might have been in their favour. The win ends a run of three straight defeats for Wales, who host Australia on Saturday, but coach Wayne Pivac will have plenty of concerns after a lacklustre display that might have been punished with better discipline from the visitors.


Reuters | Updated: 14-11-2021 23:22 IST | Created: 14-11-2021 23:22 IST
Rugby-Wobbly Wales labour to 38-23 win as Fiji see red

Hooker Ryan Elias scored two tries as Wales laboured to a flattering 38-23 victory over sparkling Fiji, who received a first half red card but showed plenty of fight in their autumn international clash at the Principality Stadium on Sunday.

Scrumhalf Kieran Hardy, fullback Liam Williams, and wings Alex Cuthbert and Louis Rees-Zammit also crossed for tries, but Wales were second best for much of the contest despite playing for 20 minutes with a two-man advantage courtesy of the sin-bin as they lost the breakdown battle and were sloppy in possession. Centre Waisea Nayacalevu scored two tries for Fiji, who led 23-14 on the hour mark, as they were left to rue a deserved 28-minute red card for wing Eroni Sau, without which the scoreline might have been in their favour.

The win ends a run of three straight defeats for Wales, who host Australia on Saturday, but coach Wayne Pivac will have plenty of concerns after a lacklustre display that might have been punished with better discipline from the visitors. Wales lost Josh Adams, who was to start in an unfamiliar centre position, just before kick-off with a calf problem, while prop Tomas Francis also pulled out on match-day due to concussion.

The match was unstructured and frenetic from the start as Fiji ran in the opening score from a simple backline that gave captain Nayacalevu an easy run in. The home side hit back with successive rolling mauls from line-outs to move within striking distance of the Fiji line and Elias dotted down.

Wales were struggling at the breakdown and gave away a succession of penalties, but a reckless piece of play from Sau put Fiji on the back foot. He had already made a tackle on centre Johnny Williams but as he then tried to push the Wales centre into touch, his swinging arm made direct contact with the head.

Referee Nic Berry initially wanted to give a yellow card but was persuaded to change that to red by Television Match Official Stuart Terheege. Fiji’s discipline let then down again when they were reduced to 13 players after loose-forward Albert Tuisue was sent to the sin-bin.

The extra space saw Hardy pick up the ball at the base of a scrum and race into a massive gap as Wales led 14-13 at halftime. Fullback Setareki Tuicuvu started a move that ended in a superb score for the visitors when he took a quick tap and evaded three tackles before Nayacalevu finished for a try the country’s sevens team would have been proud of.

But they had 13 players again when replacement prop Eroni Mawi was sin-binned for sacking a driving maul and this time Wales made the two-man advantage count by scoring four tries in the final quarter, three of which came in the last 12 minutes.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback