Rugby-Last-gasp Fiji penalty earns draw with lacklustre Wales


Fri, 19 Nov 22:21:00 2010

Seremaia Bai scored a penalty with the last kick of the game to earn Fiji a deserved 16-16 draw with Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday.

Wales led 16-13 with seconds to go but let slip the chance to gain revenge over Fiji, after their infamous World Cup defeat three years ago, when captain Ryan Jones gave away the penalty that allowed the visitors to salvage a draw.

Wales, slow to get going and struggling for possession in the first half, had been on course for a sixth straight test defeat after Albert Vulivuli's try helped Fiji take a 13-6 lead into the break.

Wales coach Warren Gatland made changes in the second half which helped the hosts finally raise the tempo.

They were awarded a penalty try, which Stephen Jones converted before quickly adding a penalty to put Wales 16-13 ahead with over 20 minutes to go.

Wales's Dan Biggar hit two penalties but they were pegged back on each occasion by Bai and Josh Matavesi as the hosts failed to dominate possession and offer any quality.

Fiji's try was the highlight of an error-strewn first half when Sisa Koyamaibole capitalised on a poor Welsh line out and outside centre Vulivuli, earning his second cap, dived over the line.


In the second half, Gatland threw on Jones, Mike Phillips and Tom Shanklin among others and Wales briefly dominated.

They set up a three-man overlap which ended when Lee Byrne thought he had scored but the video official correctly ruled that he had been stopped inches short of the touch line.

Wales finally made the breakthrough when they were awarded a penalty try after a continuously faltering Fijian scrum. Jones converted to level on the hour and his penalty soon put them in front.

Wales, much improved in last weekend's narrow 29-25 home defeat by South Africa, did little to keep any momentum going though and the match with Fiji turned into a scrappy affair.

They were duly punished when the visitors inched their way towards the try line only for Jones to go offside at a ruck, handing them the penalty that Bai sent over from close range.

The teams will hope for a higher quality encounter when they meet in the group stages at next year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Wales must now prepare for the visit of the All Blacks on Nov. 27 when Fiji travel to Italy.


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