TOP BAR - Fixtures

Wales 23 Fiji 13

Wales 23 Fiji 13

Niki Goneva’s try-of-the-tournament contender was not enough for Fiji at the Millennium Stadium as they slipped to a 23-13 defeat at the hands of Wales.

Warren Gatland’s Wales returned to Cardiff off the back of a triumphant 28-25 victory over England on Saturday and made a confident start.

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

The Pacific Islanders beat Wales eight years ago, only to lose 66-0 at the last World Cup but this crop had the look of that 2007 vintage and Leicester Tigers centre Goneva scored to make things interesting.

They were well in the contest until the dying stages but the boot of Dan Biggar – the hero at Twickenham last weekend – made sure of the result.

And another four points sees Wales move top of a riveting 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 Northampton Saints wing 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 neck tackle 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 Bath Rugby new boy Rhys Priestland – his replacement – kicked for touch instead of adding another five minutes from time.

The decision looked to have paid off as Harlequins 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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