x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Wales make their passage to quarter-finals with record World Cup win

Welsh run in nine tries in their 66-0 win against a changed Fiji at the Rugby Word Cup.

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND // Wales ran in nine tries to beat a lacklustre Fiji 66-0 and ease into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with their biggest ever victory at rugby's showpiece tournament.

Jamie Roberts, the centre, grabbed a brace as Wales scored four tries in the first half and five in the second, all converted, to beat their previous highest winning margin of 54 points in the 72-18 win over Japan at the last tournament in 2007.

The bonus point won by the four first-half tries was enough to secure the Welsh second place in Pool D behind South Africa and set up a last eight clash, most likely against Ireland, in Wellington next Saturday.

Fiji, who needed to deprive Wales of a bonus point and accumulate a huge score in victory to stay alive, upped their game after half time but were a pale imitation of the team that beat Wales 38-34 on their way to the quarter-finals four years ago.

"It's something we have worked very hard at for the last four years and it's a great feeling to get to the quarter-finals," Sam Warburton, the young Welsh captain said of correcting their defeat to the Pacific islanders four years ago.

"Credit to Fiji, they kept pushing and had a lot of territory, but our defence held firm. We played the game well and played in the right areas. We had a few handling errors, but 66 points, you can't complain about that."

Fiji captain Netani Talei was unhappy with his side's performance, in which Fiji made wholesale changes after their defeat to Samoa last week.

"It's upsetting, but at the end of the day we respect the Welsh boys," he said. "They deserved the win. They were hungry for it."

In afternoon drizzle at Waikato Stadium, Wales went ahead after six minutes when Warburton gobbled up an overthrown Fiji line-out and Jamie Roberts jinked through Fiji's midfield to score under the posts.

Apart from occasional forays down the left, Fiji were unthreatening and Wales opened them up with a swift interchange between Roberts and George North on their left to release Scott Williams, who swerved past the last defender to score.

Wales were rampant and another swift move down the right involving Roberts, prop Huw Bennett and Toby Faletau, the Tongan-born No 8, and a strong hint of forward pass put 19-year-old North through for their third.

The Six Nations side sealed the bonus point just before half-time when the impressive North received quick line-out ball and dummied his way through to set up Warburton for a diagonal run to the line.

More pinball passing put Roberts in for his second when North did a swift one-two with Rhys Priestland to set up the centre for an easy score.

Lloyd Burns, the replacement hooker, bagged his first international try and right wing Leigh Halfpenny was the grateful recipient when Fiji's Albert Vulivuli made a hash of gathering a kick behind the defence and gave him a free run to the line.

Lloyd Williams, the replacement scrum-half, caught Fiji's defensive napping when he darted over for a poacher's try and the centre Jonathan Davies grabbed the ninth and final score in the dying seconds.