Wales booked their passage to the quarterfinals in style in Hamilton tonight, thrashing a hapless Fijian outfit 66-0 with a menacing display of pure attacking rugby that puts them very much in frame for an extended run in the knockout phases. The Welsh backline rediscovered the golden days of old in an outstanding display of running rugby that featured seven tries, while two more were added by a forward pack that set an ominously solid platform for their backs to thrive. Fiji will be disappointed by their worst performance of a poor tournament after similarly lacklustre displays against Samoa and South Africa but were simply outclassed by a superior outfit as the Welsh revenged their 2007 World Cup loss to the Islanders in style.
The game began with both teams looking to play an expansive brand of rugby early on. Poor organisation of Fiji’s defensive line allowed the Welsh backs to make significant strides with ease; Jamie Roberts capitalised in just the seventh minute with some tidy footwork putting the big centre through under the posts following a shocking Fijian lineout. The Islanders were much more adept at attacking, testing the Welsh defence with a myriad of kicks, drives and flamboyant running. Wales however are looking more and more like a genuine threat to any team and weathered the storm without conceding a point; Fiji found themselves stifled and had no answer to the flowing backline prowess of the Welsh as Scott Williams and George North both sliced through weak defending to score from range; captain Sam Warburton then scored the all-important bonus-point try, following another busting run from North, to secure his team a spot in the quarterfinals with a commanding 31-0 halftime lead.
The second half continued much like the first as both teams attacked with gusto in a fixture that had lost any real significance. Wales absorbed periods of intensive Fijian pressure while putting together a string of threatening attacks before good work from the outstanding North sparked a sweeping move that eventually saw Roberts cross for his second in the 50th minute of play. The Fijians began to noticeably lose heart after this as the Welsh exorcised any remaining memories of their horror effort against the Islanders in 2007 with a scurry of tries in the last quarter of the match. Leigh Halfpenny, Lloyd Williams and Jonathon Davies each dotted down to take the backs try tally to seven before the game was through, while replacement hooker Lloyd Burns also shoved his way over the line in the only pure forwards effort of an exhilarating game of running rugby.