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#RLWC2017 REVIEW | Fiji Bati 72 Wales Dragons 6

Fiji continued their run to the quarter finals by mauling Wales in Townsville on Sunday night. After a promising start, Wales were blown away in the first half, with Fiji racing the clock to lead 42-6 at halftime and scoring 72 points in 69 minutes. A healthy differential (+112) ensures they’ll face the Group B runner up (probably Tonga) in the Christchurch quarter final.


After destroying USA 58-12, Fiji scored another half century against Wales. The Dragons actually started this game well, with Morgan Knowles scoring in the 11th minute to answer Fiji’s opening try. Then Fiji got to work; with Suliasi Vunivalu’s hat-trick and two each to Viliame Kikau and Taane Milne among Fiji’s 13 straight tries, recording their biggest ever World Cup win. The scary thing is, with only eight of fourteen conversions kicked, the score could’ve been even bigger.

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There’s been some (probably justified) criticism of the World Cup, with too many blowout scores and small crowds jeopardising the legitimacy of the tournament. Don’t tell that to Fiji though. During the national anthem, captain Kevin Naiqama was openly crying and struggling to sing the anthem he obviously holds so dear. That was backed up with their lovely hymn after the anthems. Unfortunately for Wales, that passion meant Fiji were never going to lose.

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While Wales were monstrously long odds to do anything in this World Cup, scheduling their games in Port Moresby, Townsville and Perth handicapped them further. Wales didn’t have any warm up games, training in Brisbane instead. The mid-20 degree Townsville night didn’t help their morale as Fiji – used to tropical conditions – showed no mercy. It was Wales’ biggest World Cup loss, breaking last week’s mauling by PNG. Next week’s game against Ireland won’t be easy, with the Irish super-competitive against PNG.


It’s been a rough week for Hayne; no stranger to drama (usually his own doing), there were rumours of him leaving Gold Coast and going back to Sydney. While Hayne denied it, the fans still gave him heaps, with the usual tirade of “what’s Hayne’s next dream?” memes. Hayne took his frustration out on poor old Wales, with 67 minutes played, 80 running metres, one try and three try assists (and six missed tackles because it’s Hayne), helping Fiji to their huge win.

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Fiji 72

Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu three (14m, 51m, 61m), Viliame Kikau two (22m, 40m), Taane Milne two (31m, 56m), Eloni Vunakece (6m), Henry Raiwalui (16m), Salesi Faingaa (27m), Marcelo Montoya (33m), Jarryd Hayne (42m), Joe Lovodua (65m), Ben Nakubuwai (69m).

Goals: Apisai Koroisau four, Milne three, Vunivalu one.

Wales 6

Tries: Morgan Knowles (11m).

Goals: Courtney Davies one.


Deputy Sports Editor for the Australian Times Weekly

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