Wales Squeeze Past Fiji. Job done. Move on. Ice the bruises.

So, Wales are up and running at the Rugby World Cup – but not without an almighty scare.

Warren Gatland admitted it was heart-in-mouth time when Fiji attacked in the final seconds, needing a converted try to snatch victory.

Fiji had scored twice in the last seven minutes, but centre Semi Radradra knocked on close to the line in the game’s last play and Gatland, his players, and Welsh fans in Bordeaux and beyond, were able to let out an enormous sigh of relief. Victory for Wales, 32-26. Job done. Move on. Ice the bruises.


Asked if he had his heart in his mouth during the closing stages, Gatland said: “Absolutely. With seven minutes to go I wondered about just going down to the changing rooms and waiting until the final whistle. I am absolutely delighted with the result. I think it is pretty significant for us. With 65 minutes on the clock, we were comfortable, and we needed to control that. We gave away some unnecessary penalties, and lost a little bit of composure.

We’ve always been a team that builds on confidence and get better in tournaments. So that is exciting. I was pretty frustrated and angry about the last period of the game, but it’s about being honest and making sure we learn from it.

I am delighted with the win, but we made it a lot harder for ourselves than we needed to. A dumb finish, but not the glum finish it might have been had Radradra caught the ball and scooted around under the posts.’’

Dan Biggar had come off by that stage, but judging by the mouthful he twice fired off towards George North for wrong calls, the Wales No.10 might have completely lost his mind had the Fijians snatched it.

Wales were close to a staggering 250 tackles in the game, and Biggar said: “It was absolutely exhausting. The last 10 minutes felt like the clock never moved. We put everything into it, Fiji came strong at the end, but I am really thrilled for this group of players that we managed to see it through because the work we’ve put in over the past few months has just been incredible. It puts us in such a good position in the group. I am just absolutely drained.”

Captain Jac Morgan said: “We have that mentality of never giving up, always working hard for each other. We’ve been through a couple of camps with some tough training over the past few weeks, and it has really brought the boys close as you saw. We made mistakes at critical moments, and we had to chase it at the end. It was a very good Welsh team.”

Fiji took two losing bonus points from the game, which might prove critical in terms of the group’s finishing places and race for a last-eight spot.

Head coach Simon Raiwalui said: “We had our opportunities. There were a couple of disallowed tries, and we had a chance at the end. We weren’t clinical enough to finish off, and we move on to Australia next week.”