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The Fijians have beaten Wales before at the Rugby World Cup, winning a thrilling last group game to reach the 2007 quarterfinals at their expense.
Wales won’t be knocked out of contention this time if it loses Wednesday’s match at Oita Stadium, because it has won its first two games against Georgia and Australia and still has last-place Uruguay left to play in Pool D. Victory over Fiji will secure a spot in the quarterfinals against either England or France.
But assistant coach Stephen Jones will be ramming the message home to his players not to lose focus against Fiji, and he is well placed to know the consequences any lapses. He played at flyhalf in that 38-34 defeat 12 years ago.
“It highlighted what Fijian rugby is all about,” Jones said. “Give them space and time and they move the ball well and have an offloading game and put you under pressure,” Jones said. “They did that day and scored some wonderful tries.”
Fiji’s confidence often dictates how well the team plays and the players have been erratic so far in Japan. Head coach John McKee’s lineup played brilliantly to lead at halftime before losing to two-time champion Australia 39-21, and was then shocked 30-27 by Uruguay in one of the tournament’s big upsets.
Facing criticism back home, the under-pressure Fijians trounced Georgia 45-10. Left winger Sem
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