Gatland relieved with Fiji win

Wales coach Warren Gatland says Fiji's scrum put them under pressure. Photo: WalesOnline

Wales coach Warren Gatland says Fiji’s scrum put them under pressure. Photo: WalesOnline

Wales coach Warren Gatland was relieved to get a win over Fiji despite missing out on a bonus point in a thrilling game in Cardiff.

The Welsh looked well-set to pick up maximum points when they led 17-3 after half an hour, with two tries under their belts.

However from there Fiji grew into the game, and even threatened an upset when they got back to within four points early in the second half.

Two Dan Biggar penalties settled Welsh nerves, but having missed out on a bonus point in the 23-13 win, they will likely need to beat Australia to top Pool A, while a loss in that game, combined with an English win at Twickenham on Saturday could see Wales go out in the pool stages.

However after a four-day turnaround, Gatland insists the most important thing was simply to get a win, acknowledging that Australia could do them a favour with a win over England on Saturday.

The Welsh succumbed to Fiji in the scrums. Photo: AP

The Welsh succumbed to Fiji in the scrums. Photo: AP

“That was a really tough, physical encounter,” said Gatland.

“We are absolutely delighted with the win given that short turnaround we had to dig really deep and I thought the players did that well.

“It was a tough game, the guys are pretty tired. We had a short turnaround, I thought we played pretty well and dominated in the first half.

“If we had scored on half-time then maybe the game would have opened up a bit more. There were a couple of other opportunities that we created.

“For me it was about winning the game and the courage we displayed was the most important thing. We had to dig deeep as we did last week and it shows the character of this group of players at the moment.

“They (Australia) could do us a favour, it means we would make the quarter-finals. If we’re being entirely selfish about our own destiny and making the quarter-finals then Australia can do us a big favour on Saturday.

“But it’s a bit hard for a Kiwi to be jumping up and cheering for the Aussies. I think I’ll be quite neutral for this weekend.”

One concern for Wales was their struggles at scrum-time, conceding two first-half penalties after being shunted off their own ball.

But Gatland felt his side did well to react in the second half against a much-improved Fijian scrum.

“We were under pressure but they put England and Australia under pressure as well,” he added.

“I thought our scrum was much steadier in the second half. They are a tough, good unit with some big players. We were under some pressure but fixed things up quite well.”

  • Planet Rugby

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Filed under Fiji, Rugby World Cup, Wales

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