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Wales 29 Fiji 17
Wales march on, in agony.
Fiji remains a sporting tragedy. The World Cup ends for them now, cursed by a four-day turnaround that led to Uruguay’s momentous victory in Kamaishi after being scandalously denied the chance to beat a 14-man Australia and they leave Japan filled with bitterness.
It’s rugby’s greatest sin. The Pacific Islanders should be eternal contenders, champions elect even, instead they are also-rans yet again.
Unquestionably the supreme rugby nation, ransacked of teenage talent by – take your pick from French clubs, New Zealand schools, Australian Rugby League – the Grand Slam Welsh could barely cope with their power, pace and most of all their panache.
It was 68 minutes before the Fijians wilted and Liam Williams finished off the bonus point clinching try through a litter of white jerseys.
Warren Gatland emptied the bench but Alun Wyn Jones needed to play the full 80 and scrumhalf Gareth Davies finished on the wing.
Gatland must regenerate his charges to beat Uruguay on Sunday but Pool D will almost certainly be topped with the losers of France versus England waiting in the quarter-final.
Fiji go home. Just like they threatened the Wallabies, this Super Typhoon faded in the face of structured, well-drilled rugby.
The referees remain centre stage. Here was yet another game full of big calls, four sin-binnings and four disallowed tries, but the officials are communicating with clarity and seeking to avoid human error. They deserve some credit.
So do the vanquished. Fiji’s war dance is called The Cibi. Instead of using it to electrify the psyche seconds before kick-off, the game’s great entertainers loosen up with a trot and huddle after all that crouching, leaping and screaming.
They seek a calm spirit but it was bedlam whenever they attacked, particularly with Semi Radradra on the loose. He’s a sup
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