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Wales v Fiji: minute-by-minute report

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Wales v Fiji: minute-by-minute report gives you all the news, views and nonsense from the Millennium Stadium. Get involved by emailing tim.hart@itvwales.com, or tweet him @Timwellspent.


Wales, Fiji, rugby, Millennium Stadium, rugby union, Cardiff, autumn international, Wales, South Africa, rugby, Millennium Stadium, rugby union, Cardiff, autumn internationalBy Tim Hart

Published: 6pm 19 November 2010

Tim’s Twitter

Ryan Jones, Wales, Fiji, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Millennium, autumn international, autumn, rugby, rugby union

Ryan Jones was back in the Wales pack and captained the side

FULL-TIME: Wales 16-16 Fiji

21.29: If Wales play like this against New Zealand they will be truly hammered.

21.28: Warren Gatland will have to wring the changes for next week. Such a deflated and disorganised performance.

21.27: Such a disappointing result and next week it’s only the small prospect of New Zealand.

21.24: Seremaia Bai, the man who used to play for Crosskeys and Caerphilly, has the chance to level the match and he does. Wales 16-16 Fiji.

21.23: Fiji have got the penalty advantage and unbelievably they have got the opportunity to level the match.

21.22: Fiji are trying to open up a chance for a drop goal but nothing’s happening as the clock goes red.

21.21: Fiji are on  Wales’ 22. If Wales give a penalty away now Fiji will go for goal. A draw would be more like a victory for them.

21.20: Dan Lydiate has been given the man of the match award and can’t argue with that. He’s been the best of a bad and inconsistent bunch.

21.19: As soon as I say Wales are running the clock down they give away a penalty at the ruck and Fiji are presented with a chance to at least draw the game. Bai kicks the ball into touch midway in Wales’ half.

21.18: Wales aren’t really going anywhere but that will suit them just fine, running down the clock. Just two and a half minutes to go.

21.17: This time the scrum holds firm and Wales look for a way forward.

21.16: The scrum has been nothing but a disaster for Fiji. And it has resulted in a scrappy game but Wales have not been much better.

21.14: New Zealand must be licking their lips at the prospect of playing Wales next week.

21.13: Wales have the ball in the Fiji 22 and aren’t really going anywhere. Oh My God! A terrible pass by Bradley Davies, George North is isolated and gives away the penalty.

21.13: The Fijians are trudging back as if they want to be back home on the other side of the world. They’re shattered.

21.12: Oh look, another scrum and another penalty to Wales. Stephen Jones duly kicks the ball into the Fiji 22 for a line-out.

21.11: Wales have been better this half but the fact the crowd are doing a Mexican wave just sums it up.

21.10: It’s a bit of kicking tennis as full-backs kick the ball to each other a couple of times. Gabirieli Lovobalavu then runs with the ball but the game is yet again brought back for the scrum.

21.09: It’s a bit of a rare respite at the moment as we wait for another scrum.

21.08: Fiji’s full back gives the ball away and Wales do well to keep possession. They are now on Fiji’s 10 metre line and George North is away. Or at least we thought he was. The referee has brought it back after Stephen Jones passed the ball forward to North.

21.07: Well, that’s a turn up for the books, Fiji won a scrum.

21.05: Wales are on top but still lose the ball stupidly at the ruck as Fiji turn it over. This game isn’t over just yet.

21.04: The ball is kicked down into the corner by Hook and North is chasing it and Vereniki Goneva has to kick the ball out for a line-out to prevent a try. That chance was created after Dan Lydiate’s tackle which was sublime. He’s probably been Wales’ most consistent player this evening, but that’s not saying much.

21.03: Can Fiji respond? They have been penned back in their own 22 for most of this half. They’ve just ventured forward for the first time this half but Wales easily turn it over.

21.02: The Welsh backs are now moving the ball with much confidence and the ball finds its way out to North who tries to break free but Fiji manage to stop him.

21.01: Stephen Jones scores the straightforward penalty and somehow Wales are winning 16-13.

21.00: Fiji are tiring. Wales are surging forward and are given another penalty. Fiji have four players on the floor either with cramp or exhaustion. There’s only one winner now surely.

20.59: This is now more like it. Wales are on top. lee Byrne carries the ball for a good 10 metres and is eventually stopped by an amazing tackle.

20.58: Wales 13-13 Fiji with 20 minutes left to play.

20.57: TRY FOR WALES. The referee has finally given the penalty try. Wales are back on level terms. Fiji are having a nightmare in the scrum.

20.56: Campese Ma’afu has been replaced as the ref gives Fiji their final, final warning.

20.55: Unbelievable. We’re having another scrum and we’ve had 10 minutes of scrumming in this match.

20.54: Campese Ma’afu has been the culprit every time. The referee has given Fiji their final warning.

20.53: It’s a third scrum and once again Fiji give away a penalty. Wales opt for a fourth scrum and it collapses again.

20.52: Wales are edging towards a penalty try here. The Fijian forwards don’t want to be there.

20.51: It’s now a Wales scrum 5 metres out. Wales have to make it count. They’re awarded the free-kick. Fiji can’t handle the scrum. Wales decide to have another one and once again it collapses.

20.50: Well to be more accurate Lee Byrne blew it. He had George North to his right in all the space in the world to score.

20.49: Lee Byrne has gone over the line but is it a try? This is so close to call. The decision from the TMO is it’s not a try. Wales had to score and they blew it

20.48: Wales carry the ball well with Aled Brew and they advance into the Fijian 22. Mike Phillips darts through and now Jonathan Thomas takes it 5 metres from the line.

20.48: Another Wales line-out and Huw Bennett can’t hit a barn door with his throwing tonight. Another one goes to Fiji.

20.47: Fiji replacement – Talemaitoga Taupati comes on for Vili Veikoso

20.45: All of a sudden, though, Wales’ defence has improved and they’re showing a bit more physicality. And Wales get a penalty after Josh Matavesi went into a ruck with both of his feet off the ground.

20.44: Wales are really struggling to bring the Fijians down in the tackle. The Fijians just keep powering down the field with ruck after ruck.

20.43: Michael Tagicakibau comes in with a late tackle after the referee has already blown his whistle. The referee just gives him a ticking off.

20.41: Here comes the cavalry: Stephen Jones, Bradley Davies, Mike Phillps and Tom Shanklin. Dan Biggar, Ian Gough, Richie Rees and Andrew Bishop all come off. Let’s see if this makes the difference. The four new players are all ball carriers and not afraid of a hard tackle.

20.40: Wales threaten to push for Fiji’s try line but a poor up and under kick from James Hook just concedes possession. Wales just don’t want to go into the tackle.

20.39: Now let’s see if Wales can impose themselves on the Fijians and win the line-out.

20.38: What’s that? Some good rucking by Wales and Fiji are forced on to the back foot. Wales win a penalty and Dan Biggar kicks it well into the corner.

20.37: Mistake, after mistake after mistake. This time Ian Gough knocked the ball on. I think it’s the first time I’ve even mentioned him this evening.

20.36: Lee Byrne kicks it aimlessly long and just gives up possession.

20.35: Another crunching tackle by Fiji and the Welsh team just seem to be going backwards here.

20.34: This is worse than watching England play football. It’s just so terrible, the crowd is flat and I’m starting to wish I could go home. Sadly Wales are in greater need of a taxi at the moment than me.

20.33: A poor forward pass is knocked on by Fiji. Wales pick the ball up and almost immediately Dan Lydiate also knocks the ball. There must have been four errors in the first 35 minutes of the half there.

20.32: The second half is just about to begin. Let’s hope it can get better.

20.30: All the messages I’m getting from you guys are along the lines of a woeful performance.

20.28: So Matt Johnson’s confident prediction of a 28-12 victory to Wales has already been blown out of the water.

20.22: Bradley Davies should also come on in my opinion. Wales are just lacking in physicality.

20.20: Warren Gatland must be looking to make some changes at the break. Mike Phillips and Stephen Jones should be entering the fray pretty sharpish.

20.19: Half-time score Wales 6-13 Fiji. And for 10 minutes of that half Fiji only had 14 men.

20.18: Wales get another penalty from another scrum. It’s the one area they’ve been good at. Dan Biggar steps up for a long penalty but it’s just wide of the post.

20.16: Wales are all over the place and Fiji could easily score another try before the break if they apply themselves.

20.15: Fiji get the conversion to make it Wales 6-13 Fiji.

20.14: Or has he? The referee has referred it for the Television match official. But it’s clearly a try and is given almost immediately. Wales 6-11 Fiji.

20.13: A terrible Wales error from another line-out sees Fiji counter-attack and they go storming down the field and Albert Vulivuli goes over to score a try.

20.11: Here Wales come. Wonderful off load from Jonathan Thomas to James Hook but Wales are stopped once again and Fiji win the ball back in the ruck.

20.10: Wales have lost another line-out and it’s really becoming a problem now. Adam Rhys Jones beats one player but then knocks the ball on under almost no pressure. That sums the evening pretty much for Wales.

20.09: It’s now a Fiji scrum 5 metres from their line.

20.08: Fiji, as ever, have been robust with their tackling. Bai has been sin binned for a spear tackle and there have been a number of high tackles which have not been spotted by the referee.

20.07: It comes out to the right wing again but Fiji hold firm and it’s a Wales line-out.

20.06: Wales have the ball in the ruck but some strong, effective defending means Fiji turn the ball over. Fiji’s clearance, though, is poor and Wales come on the attack.

20.05: Promising run from James Hook and Aled Brew but he’s cut down on the 22. Wales recycle it and they pass it out to North on the right wing. He must be in to score BUT no a brilliant tackle by Gabirieli Lovobalavu means he’s denied 5 metres from the line.

20.04: Josh Matavesi’s kick goes straight to Dan Biggar who goes on acounter and the ball finds its way to North who is tackled into touch.

20.03: Make that nine errors for Wales as they give the ball away again from a line-out.

20.02: It’s another scrum and Wales once again dominate but another error means Fiji can clear the ball. Wales have made eight errors while Fiji have made six.

20.01: Lee Byrne carries the ball forward a few metres and lays it off to Aled Brew who makes a nice dart through the defence but again nothing comes of it. Wales are looking dangerous but they aren’t finding any end product.

20.00: Josh Matavesi steps up to take the penalty and on his fifth appearance for Fiji he makes it Wales 6-6 Fiji.

19.58: The best way to describe this game is scrappy and that’s just what Fiji want. Wales concede a penalty for holding on to the ball to give Fiji a great opportunity to level things up.

19.57: Dan Biggar takes the penalty and restores Wales’ lead to 6-3.

19.56: A nice dummie by Dan Lydiate nearly creates a chance and Wales surge forward. Aled Brew gets the ball but he’s abruptly brought to the floor with a spear tackle from Seremaia Bai. The referee has no option but to give him a yellow card and 10 minutes off the pitch.

19.55: Lee Byrne’s howitzer of the penalty puts the ball deep into the Fiji half.

1954: Wales frustrate Fiji who concede a penalty with Vili Veikoso coming in from the side at a ruck.

19.53: Semisi Saukawa tries to force his way through the Welsh defence but it holds strong. Fiji aren’t moving anywhere quickly.

19.52: Great tackle by Andrew Bishop to curtail a Fijian attack.

19.51: A dangerous line-out but it’s stolen back by Fiji. Once again Wales struggle to do anything in the final third.

19.50: Fiji are being absolutely obliterated in the scrum, just like Australia and to a lesser extent South Africa were. Fiji concede a penalty and Lee Byrne kicks the ball into the Fiji 22.

19.49: Josh Matavesi tries to make things happen as he gets the ball out on to the wing for Fiji. However, it’s gone forward so it’s a Wales scrum.

19.47: Albert Vulivuli steamrollers his way through the Welsh defence and he forces Wales to concede a penalty. Seremaia Bai steps up to take it and this time it goes between the posts. Wales 3-3 Fiji.

19.45: Wales with the line-out deep in their own half. It’s well claimed by Jonathan Thomas in the line and Wales can clear to safety.

19.44: George North always beats at least one player when he gets the ball. He’s making almost every opportunity count. However, another error, this time by Andrew Bishop means Fiji get another penalty.

19.43: North is now receiving some treatment for his shoulder which has taken a knock but he’s back up safely.

19.42: And George North makes the first error of his international career; a loose kick. Tut, tut.

19.41: Lee Byrne tries to hit a penalty right into the corner but it doesn’t find touch. Another fundamental error made by Wales.

19.40: Great work by Dan Biggar, he lays it off to George North who goes on a bit of a run before being tackled. It was the first time North has got the ball and the crowd instantly raised the noise level.

19.38: Wales get a penalty after Deacon Manu is judged to be offside. And Dan Biggar gets the kick to make it Wales 3-0 Fiji.

19.36: Wales are let off the hook though with Fiji hitting the post with their penalty.

19.35: And lo and behold Wales concede a penalty with Aled Brew the guilty party.

19.34: Wales win the ball back but kick it loosely straight back to Fiji. Wales can’t afford to do that, Fiji’s strength will punish the Welsh

19.33: Wales start proceedings and straight away knock the ball on. Let’s just calm down boys and settle. Get the basics right and Wales should be fine tonight.

19.32: The Fijian version of the Haka livens things up a bit just before kick off.

19.32: Wales have made five changes to the side who lost 29-25 to South Africa while Fiji make eight changes to the team that lost to France.

19.31:  Beryl Hughes on Facebook: “Well we can hope that they beat fiji. Come on boy’s you can do it. Make us proud.”

19.30: Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is being sung out. It always gets me.

19.28: The national anthems are being sung. I hope Fiji are better at rugby than they are at singing.

19.25: The Fijians are coming out on to the pitch. Let’s get this started!

19.23: Calum Lavin on Twitter:Disappointing that Millennium Stadium isn’t even half full tonight for Wales v Fiji” – Agreed, it is somewhat of an anti-climax

19.16: For the New Zealand match next week when the All Blacks do the Haka the Welsh team should do the Only Men Aloud routine. That will really unnerve those Maori.

19.14: Only Men Aloud’s choice of song, “Don’t stop believing”, does seem rather odd ahead of a rugby match. It’s not exactly geeing up the fans.

19.12: The consensus seems Wales will win but like Colin says that’s what everybody thought in 2007 and look what happened then.

19.09: Gavin Burrough reckons it will be Wales 55-17 Fiji while Andrew Gardiner thinks it will be 36-10. What do you think the score will be? Get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, email: tim.hart@itv.com or just comment below.

19.00: Colin Jones on Facebook: “Hmmmm Fiji beat Wales in 2007 and knocked us out of the Rugby World Cup, which cost Gareth Jenkins his job. I wonder what will happen tonight??”

18.20: Here’s what the former Wales captain Mark Taylor makes of the match.

18.10: Richard Morgan has been covering the build up to the match and here are a few of the interviews he’s done this week:

James Hook

Adam Rhys Jones

Dan Biggar

Ian Gough

18.05: Wales are 1/33 to win the match and they will be desperate to get a win under their belts ahead of next week’s clash with New Zealand.

18.00: Here’s a look at both of the team’s for this evening’s game:

Wales: 15-Lee Byrne, 14-George North, 13-James Hook, 12-Andrew Bishop, 11-Aled Brew; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Richie Rees; 1-Paul James, 2-Huw Bennett, 3-Adam Jones, 4-Ian Gough, 5-Deiniol Jones, 6-Ryan Jones (captain), 7-Dan Lydiate, 8-Jonathan Thomas.

Replacements: 16-Richard Hibbard, 17-John Yapp, 18-Bradley Davies, 19-Toby Faletau, 20-Mike Phillips, 21-Stephen Jones, 22-Tom Shanklin.

Fiji: 15-Josh Matavesi, 14-Michael Tagicakibau, 13-Albert Vulivuli, 12-Gabirieli Lovobalavu, 11-Vereniki Goneva; 10-Seremaia Bai, 9-Nemia Kenatale; 1-Campese Ma’afu, 2-Vili Veikoso, 3-Deacon Manu (captain), 4-Ifereimi Rawaqa, 5-Jone Qovu, 6-Semisi Saukawa, 7-Malakai Ravulo, 8-Sisa Koyamaibole.

Replacements: 16-Talemaitoga Taupati, 17-Graham Dewes, 18-Seko Kalou, 19-Akapusi Qera, 20-Seveci Taka, 21-Ropate Ratu, 22-Taniela Rawaqa.

About Tim Hart

Cardiff University Postgraduate Student



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