Free-flowing Portugal win hearts and minds after giving Wales tough day at Rugby World Cup

Taulupe Faletau embraces David Wallis at full time
Portugal gave Wales a scare but were ultimately outclassed - Craig Mercer/Getty Images

Portugal are nicknamed ‘Os Lobos’, or The Wolves, and while Wales kept them from the door in Nice, Patrice Lagisquet’s team delivered a joyous display that captured the intoxicating potential of underdogs at World Cups.

Warren Gatland was ultimately indebted to a superior scrum, which allowed Taulupe Faletau to surge over for what could be a crucial bonus-point in the 82nd minute. By that stage, Wales’ opponents were down to 14 men due to Vincent Pinto’s red card five minutes previously, the right wing having accidentally booted Josh Adams in the head while collecting a high ball. By that stage also, Portugal will have won many hearts and minds.

The most memorable performances from emerging nations at these tournaments are those that are palpably shaped by a distinctive style. Japan’s ruck-and-run of 2015 must stand top of the list and Uruguay’s rare tenacity against France in this edition has already earned them admirers.

Coached by Patrice Lagisquet, the former France wing known as ‘The Bayonne Express’, Portugal are an intrepid team. They qualified for this tournament, earning a first World Cup appearance since 2007, in dramatic style. An 82nd-minute penalty from Samuel Marques, their veteran scrum-half, drew them level at 16-16 with USA in the repechage 10 months ago. That was enough to edge into this intriguing pool. Their last meeting with Wales, back in 1994, yielded a 102-11 loss. This was nowhere near as lop-sided, because Portugal were bold enough to stay true to themselves on a grand occasion.

Dan Biggar called them a “mini Fiji” during the build-up. He was not far off the mark. Even if Lagisquet suggested afterwards that his side had been “too shy” in the first half, Portugal matched ambition with deft handling and sharp, sweeping patterns of attack. The sole try they managed, through outstanding flanker Nicolas Martins, came from a beautifully-worked line-out move. Had Marques landed all his kicks at goal, Portugal would have been in touch at just 21-16 behind in the final quarter. No wonder Jac Morgan saluted them as “brilliant”. Now for governing bodies to cultivate such promise and present further opportunities.

Portugal flanker Nicolas Martin dives over for a deserved try
Portugal flanker Nicolas Martin dives over for a deserved try - Christophe Simon/AFP

Injuries are causing adjustments everywhere at this World Cup and Wales drafted in Morgan to replace Tommy Reffell when the latter became a late withdrawal. Perhaps seduced by a carnival atmosphere, Gatland’s charges kept the ball in hand for numerous phases from the kick-off. Portugal held firm, with Tomás Appleton and José Lima pouncing over Mason Grady for a breakdown penalty, and then looked assured and lively in possession. Johnny Williams crept offside but Marques missed a straightforward chance from the tee.

From there, carnage ensued and a harum-scarum passage was encapsulated by Antony Alves, Portugal’s tighthead prop, attempting a grubber in the outside centre channel. Eventually, Morgan worked the ball to Louis Rees-Zammit, who struck a more effective kick and collected it himself to score. The 22-year-old wing enacted the spinning “siu” celebration of Cristiano Ronaldo against the iconic striker’s compatriots.

Louis Rees-Zammit celebrates his try with a Siu
Louis Rees-Zammit celebrates his try with a Siu - Pavel Golovkin/AP

Two try-saving tackles punctuated a breathless first quarter. Faletau glided back in typically graceful style to scythe down Martins, who had linked up with a jinking Nuno Sousa Gomes, before Tomos Williams was clattered by Marques following Christ Tshiunza’s break. Whether between their forwards in tight spaces or across their backline, Portugal moved the ball superbly.

Williams was sin-binned by Karl Dickson for cynically blocking an offload from the floor and then, close to the half-hour mark, Marques hit an opportunistic 50:22. Leigh Halfpenny, as dogged as ever, burrowed in for a vital turnover two metres in front of the try line, but Lima landed a second 50:22 moments later. This time, Marques punished Grady’s high tackle with three points.

Portugal had been disciplined in defence and during kicking exchanges, yet buckled just before the break. They haemorrhaged penalties and, after Williams had spilled short of the whitewash, Wales were intent on a try. Leading from the front as captain, Dewi Lake tapped and bulldozed over. A 14-3 scoreline seemed tough on Portugal, who dug in at the beginning of the second period thanks to three lineout steals in quick succession. Marques could not convert a long-range penalty attempt when Wales committed a clumsy obstruction offence and power eventually told. Portugal were squeezed at the scrum and Morgan shunted over with the help of a latching Tomas Francis.

Portugal frustrated by red card for 'accidental' boot to Josh Adams' head
Portugal frustrated by red card for 'accidental' boot to Josh Adams' head

The roaming Raffaele Storti added energy from the bench and a lovely lineout ploy set up a try that summed up Portugal’s invention. Fittingly, two of their skilful back rowers combined to crack Wales. Rafael Simões was lifted in the middle and feigned to establish a maul before transferring the ball, without looking, to the front. Having dummied a jump, Martins was standing unmarked and could cross for a mightily popular finish.

Though they endeavoured to fight closer, Portugal could not add to their tally and, with Pinto off the pitch, the excellent Faletau notched an additional point that already seems hugely valuable with Australia and Georgia to round off Wales’ pool schedule. “Not pretty” was the verdict of Gatland, who was pleased to avoid this banana skin and move onto Australia.

Match details

Scoring: 5-0 Rees-Zammit try, 7-0 Halfpenny conversion, 7-3 Marques penalty, 12-3 Lake try, 14-3 Halfpenny penalty, 19-3 Morgan try, 21-3 Halfpenny conversion, 21-8 Martins try, 26-8 Faletau try, 28-8 Costelow conversion

Wales: L Halfpenny (J Adams, 70); L Rees-Zammit, M Grady, J Williams, R Dyer; G Anscombe (S Costelow, 64), T Williams (G Davies, 64); N Smith (C Domachowski,50 ), D Lake (R Elias, 50), D Lewis (T Francis, 50), C Tshiunza, D Jenkins (A Beard, 50), D Lydiate (T Basham, 54), J Morgan, T Faletau

Portugal: N Sousa Guedes (J Moura(; V Pinto, J Lima (R Storti, 57), T Appleton, R Marta; J Portela, S Marques (P Lucas, 74); F Fernandes (D Costa, 60), M Tadjer (L Campergue, 78), A Alves (D Ferreira, 55), M Belo (T de Freitas, 57), S Crequeira, J Granate (D Wallis, 65), N Martins, R Simões

Yellow cards: Johnny Williams, 26

Red card: Vincent Pinto, 77

Wales v Portugal: as it happened

07:06 PM BST

Portugal announce themselves to the rugby world

Portugal said they wanted to show people they deserved to be at the World Cup. They have done that, and then some.

Os Lobos stretched Wales in attack through the dancing feet of Soudsa Guedes. They matched the Welsh with their kicking game, knocking two 50-22s in the first half.  And they dominated the lineout, using a nifty training ground move to produce their first World Cup try in 16 years.

Patrice Lagisquet’s would have cause to feel disappointed they did not come away with more. Indeed, if it wasn’t for a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Taulupe Faletau, Wales could well have conceded a try in the first half.

In the end, the scoreline does not do Os Lobos justice.

As for Wales, it was a disappointing performance that coach Warren Gatland has chalked up to “rusty” combinations.

Their kicking game failed to build pressure on the scoreboard as they got caught in the trap of trying to outplay Portugal.

And each time they looked to play through the backline, they were thwarted by spirited Portuguese defence. There will be plenty of takeaways for Gatland’s side as they prepare for their showdown with Australia next week.

06:58 PM BST

Warren Gatland on 'rusty' Welsh performance

It want pretty, but we got the job done in the end. A few guys looked a little bit rusty having not played together in a while. We’ll take the ‘w’ and move on.

People had an opportunity today to put their hands up. I thought Rio Dyer looked good on the wing - really happy with his aerial stuff. Our lineout didn’t function as well as we would like, and I think we were a little bit lateral at times.

To be far to Portugal, they put us under pressure.

06:49 PM BST

Player of the Match Jac Morgan:

I think it would have been nerve-wracking [watching from the sidelines]. I think Portugal were brilliant today. They really brought that physicality and they really tested us at a few moments.

06:44 PM BST

TRY WALES! 80 min WAL 28 POR 8

A huge moment for Wales, and who else to score it but Taulupe Faletau.

The veteran No 8 picks up off the back of the scrum and fends off three challenges to blast over, giving Wales that much-needed bonus point.

There’s one last twist of the knife for Portugal though as poor Vincent Pinto as the winger’s yellow card for making contact to the head of Josh Adams is upgraded to a red.

It’s all over in Nice. The final score: Wales 28 - 8 Portugal.

Taulupe Faletau of Wales blasts through the tackle of Pedro Lucas of Portugal to score his sides fourth try

06:41 PM BST

80 min WAL 21 POR 8

It’s the last roll of the dice here for Wales as they go for their 18th scrum.

There is still time for one last try, should they win the ball back.

06:40 PM BST

79 min WAL 21 POR 8

Wales truck it up over and over, getting up to within 10 metres of the Portugal line.

They go out the back to Josh Adams running a big arcing line to take on his opposite number, but he is snaffled late and offloads into touch.

Wales had an advantage though and opt for a scrum just right of the sticks.

06:38 PM BST

78 min WAL 21 POR 8

Wales have a penalty inside the Portugal 22.

They go for the scrum though as they need the bonus point score with Fiji potentially snapping at their heels in pool C.

06:36 PM BST


Vincent Pinto could be in trouble here.

The Portuguese winger jumps for the ball but leaves his leg out in front of him in a karate kick position.

Unfortunately for all involved, Josh Adams runs straight into the flailing boot.

Pinto receives a yellow card and goes to the bunker while it is reviewed.

Portugal's Vincent Pinto catches Josh Adams in the face with his boot
Portugal's Vincent Pinto catches Josh Adams in the face with his boot - PA/David Davies

06:33 PM BST

NO TRY! 75 min WAL 21 POR 8

Scrap that; try disallowed. Marius Jonker makes another timely intervention- unusually, after the conversion has been taken.

A Welsh player clearly blocks the Portuguese tackler in midfield, allowing Rees-Zammit to go through.

The score remains 21-8.

06:32 PM BST

TRY WALES! 75 min WAL 21 POR 8

A bit of magic from Louis Rees-Zammit!

Wales drop the ball but it dribbles to Louis Rees-Zammit in midfield.

The flying winger needs no second invitation and turns on the burners to burst through. He then slams the breaks just in front of the fullback to give a delicious offload back inside to Davies to go over.

Rees-Zammit bursts through before giving a 'Sonny bill' offload
Rees-Zammit bursts through before giving a 'Sonny bill' offload - PA/Mike Egerton

06:30 PM BST

72 min WAL 21 POR 8

Portugal win a penalty form the scrum and again opt to go quickly - this one’s inside their own 22.

They string together another fluid move and get up to their own 10, but as they come back the other way, the ball ricochets away for a knock-on.

Both sides set for a scrum, but the eye in the sky, aka Marius Jonker, has spotted a Welsh tackle off the ball.

Portugal kick upfield for a lineout.

06:28 PM BST

71 min WAL 21 POR 8

Wales put on good pressure at the lineout and charge down the Portugal box kick.

Gatland’s side win it back and look to cross kick to get the ball to Rees-Zammit. The winger, who looked so dangerous in the early stages, has hardly touched the ball in this half.

The ball is called back for a Portugal scrum.

06:26 PM BST

70 min WAL 21 POR 8

Wales try to find some joy on the blindside with Gareth Davies and Dyer looking to break.

But the Portuguese defence is good, and the two Welshmen are shepherded into touch. Portugal lineout.

Time for a drinks break. With 10 minutes to, Os Lobos trail by just 11 points.

06:23 PM BST

68 min WAL 21 POR 8

That try has re-energised Portugal and look full of running and skill as they work it up the field.

It’s all offloads, sidesteps and big carries at the moments - they are putting on a show here Os Lobos.

They look like they are through on the right but the ball is knocked on in an offload, and Wales have a scrum.

Even that department, so troubled in the first half, seems to have found new wind. Portugal put the pressure on and both sides end up breaking even.

Wales eventually kick up-field and have a scrum around halfway.

06:19 PM BST


A brilliant, and dare I say unexpected, piece of lineout chicanery from Portugal.

Everyone thought they were going to look to drive it, but Sousa Guededs pops it off the top to Nicolas Martins who had ducked around the front.

All the Welsh pack are caught Rip Van Winkle and the big flanker dives over. What a moment for Portugal fans!

06:16 PM BST

61 min WAL 21 POR 3

Portugal put together nine phases, moving the ball from coast to left to right, and then back again.

Wales half-open the door in defence, allowing Raffaele Storti to go around the edge, but the replacement winger looks tired and is tackled into touch by Rio Dyer.

Portugal were playing under advantage though and have another chance.

Wales then commit another penalty and are in danger of being issued a warning themselves.

Portugal go for the corner rather than the points, and the crowd love it. They have made their intentions clear.

06:13 PM BST

58 min WAL 21 POR 3

That last try may have taken a bit of the sting out of Portugal.

But Steevy Cerqueira works hard to get into a jackal position for Os Lobos and is duly awarded a penalty.

Portugal kick upfield and have the ball on the Wales 22.

06:10 PM BST

TRY WALES! 56 min WAL 21 POR 3

Wales are peppering the line with pick and goes, and are just inches away from the line.

Eventually it’s Morgan who mines underneath Portugal’s defence with a bit of support from Tomas Francis.

Halfpenny adds the extras from just wide of the left post.

Wales will surely now look to settle the game down.

06:08 PM BST

55 min WAL 14 POR 3

Wales have a centre field scrum placing Halfpenny and Anscombe directly behind the scrum. Echoes of Stuart Lancaster’s ‘I’ formation with England.

Wales go to the left and burst up to the line but are penalised.

The ball is called back though for a scrum penalty.

Dickson now gives an all-round warning to Os Lobos. Next infringement by Portugal will be a card.

06:04 PM BST

53 min WAL 14 POR 3

Wales’ execution this half has been poor, but they may have an opportunity here.

They win a penalty and kick to the corner for the lineout.

It’s not clean ball off the top, but they hit up well through the middle to burrow inside the Portugal 22.

Os Lobos are penalised for offside, and Dickson gives them a last warning. A yellow card could change the complexion of things.

06:02 PM BST

Hot mic moment for Karl Dickson

A huge belch picked up by the referee’s microphone prior to that last scrum, which brought about another Wales penalty. Portugal have to be careful not to get constricted at the set piece, as Chile were against Samoa earlier today.... ah, as I speak, that’s a great start - two line-out steals in the space of a minute.

06:02 PM BST

50 min WAL 14 POR 3

Samuel Marques has the distance but not quite the accuracy as he pulls the ball to the left.

A good idea to keep the build pressure on the scoreboard for Portugal.

Wales knock-on as they chase their restart, and Portugal have yes, you guessed it, another scrum.

06:00 PM BST

49 min WAL 14 POR 3

Wales look to play in midfield but they are penalised for crossing.

Portugal opt for the three-points from around halfway. If Wales aren’t careful, they could find themselves in a tricky position this half.

05:59 PM BST

46 min WAL 14 POR 3

It’s a scrappy start to the second 40.

Wales win a scrum turnover but Anscombe chips over, allowing the Portuguese full-back to call the mark and clear.

Portugal then disrupt at the next lineout, but Wales then have the ball on the opposition 10.

Yet another handling error then gives Portugal another scrum.

We’re running at a set piece every couple of minutes so far this half. Whoever said you can have too much scrummaging...

05:56 PM BST

44 min WAL 14 POR 3

Great effort from Nicolas Martins, who disrupts at the lineout.

Rafael Simoes then disrupts at the next, and Wales’ lineout woes continue. It was an area they struggled in against Fiji last week too.

05:54 PM BST

44 min WAL 14 POR 3

Portugal win their own ball, and Wales defend well.

The move is a bit flat by Os Lobos though, and Strong Wales defence forces the knock-on.

Portugal are then penalised at the scrum and Wales kick for corner. This Portugal side have struggled with their timing at the set piece so far this match.

05:53 PM BST

40 min WAL 14 POR 3

We’re back under way here.

Wales old the ball and make an early line break from a lineout.

The ball is lost, so time for the first scrum of the half for Portugal.

05:51 PM BST


Wales have been the better team in the first half, but they have yet to settle into their shape and have been forced to play at Portugal’s pace.

They will be hoping to steady the ship in this second half. Os Lobos, meanwhile, will look to continue at this furious pace. If they can keep their kicking game working well, they could stay in with a chance.

05:40 PM BST

A great first half from...the referee

Am I allowed to say that I think Karl Dickson has had a very good half? He’s facilitated what has been a fast-paced, entertaining contest and his manner with players has been impressive - positive and open, not at all patronising and honest. On more than one occasion, he’s admitted “I could be wrong” while explaining his decision. You don’t get that a lot.

05:39 PM BST

TRY WALES! 40 min WAL 14 POR 3

Dewi Lake decides he doesn’t need any support and goes route one all by himself.

The big hooker accellerates into the defence before turning on the leg drive to push himself over.

As tries go, they don’t get much simpler than that.

A valiant effort from Portugal’s dogged defence which came so close to keeping out the Welsh with the clock in the red. Halftime.

05:34 PM BST

NO TRY!40 min WAL 7 POR 3

A really important intervention from Anthony Alves dislodges the ball at the final moment.

Wales were playing under advantage though and go for a quick tap again.

Johnny Williams's try is disallowed by the TMO for separation with the ball
Johnny Williams's try is disallowed by the TMO for separation with the ball - Getty Images/David Rogers

05:33 PM BST

TRY WALES! 40 min WAL 7 POR 3

And they’re over

Jonny Williams comes back from 10 minutes in the bin to dive over. But hold on, it’s being checked...

05:32 PM BST

40 min WAL 7 POR 3

Portugal are penalised at the scrum and Faletau goes quickly.

With the clock in the red, Wales have one more opportunity for points this half.

It looked for sure there was Welsh crossing, but play is called back for Portugal offside. Wales tap again.

05:31 PM BST

39 min WAL 7 POR 3

Portugal’s defence has still not been truly undone as we approach the halfway point.

They have remained disciplined, picking their moments to fly into the tackle and land a big shot.

Wales will hope their extra fitness will pay dividends when it comes to finding space and weak shoulders in the second half.

Gatland’s side string a few phases together for the first time in a while, but when the ball comes back wide the other way, Mason Grady’s passes bounces forwards into touch. Portugal scrum.

05:28 PM BST

35 min WAL 7 POR 3

Portugal again try to take on the Wales backline but there is no way through.

Sousa Guedes goes for a drop goal which misses, but Portugal were playing under advantage due to a seatbelt tackle from Mason Grady.

Os Lobos go for the posts and get their first points on the board at a World Cup for 16 years.

05:25 PM BST

34 min WAL 7 POR 0

Portugal may be a team who look to run from every conceivable position, but when they have kicked today, they have done so effectively.

They match Wales in a kicking duel this time. and Gatland’s men eventually try to run it.

After a few phases, Portugual win the turnover, and Lima wallops it downfield to win another 50-22! Fantastic work.

Portugal have kicked well out of hand in the first half
Portugal have kicked well out of hand in the first half - PA/Mike Egerton

05:22 PM BST

30 min WAL 7 POR 0

Portugal first use the width to give their right winger a one-on-one.

They are caught but then pick-and-go. Unfortunately, the ball carrier separates slightly from his support, and Halfpenny does well to latch onto the ball.

Penalty for Wales, who clear up inside the Portugal half.

05:20 PM BST

28 min WAL 7 POR 0

Wales, a man down, look threatening as they push the ball to the left flank.

Portugal win it back though and clear.

Wales then look to do the same up the right flank through Faletau, but another good turnover from Portugal wins them the ball back.

This time, they whack kick up the line, and it’s a perfect 50-22!

Portugal lineout 10 metres from the Wales line. This is their best opportunity so far.

05:18 PM BST


Anscombe kicks deep, and Portugal look to play.

Jonny Williams makes a good defensive tackle, but as the Portuguese look to offload, Williams clearly sticks his hand up to to play the ball on the floor, and in doing so block the pass.

A timely yet cynical intervention from the centre, who is given his marching orders.

Johnny Williams (top) earns himself a yellow card by playing the ball on the floor to block a Portuguese offload
Johnny Williams (top) earns himself a yellow card by playing the ball on the floor to block a Portuguese offload - Getty Images/Dan Mullan

05:14 PM BST

23 min WAL 7 POR 0

“Too much scrummaging,” says Karl Dickson. I can think of plenty of second rows who would disagree with that sentiment...

It appears to be a timing problem that the referee is taking issue with.

Wales are given a freekick and go quick, but the knock-on in contact. Another scrum Portugal. Os Lobos clear up to half-way.

05:12 PM BST

22 min WAL 7 POR 0

This particular rally ends with Portugal kicking too deep.

With the greasy surface, the ball rolls dead and a scrum is called for Wales  back where Os Lobos kicked it from - just outside their 22.

05:11 PM BST

21 min WAL 7 POR 0

Time back on. Portugal drive the ball to toouch just inside the Wales half.

They look to play off the top but drop in midfield. It’s backwards though so play goes on.

Os Lobos hoist one up to the sky to test Halfpenny, who gathers. Wales clear their lines, and kick tennis ensues.

05:09 PM BST

19 min WAL 7 POR 0

Wales find themselves in a good position up-field now.

First a break from Jac Morgan is stymied and then cleared from Portugal. Then Christ Thiunza finds himself in a bit of space and gives it to Tomas Williams who has a clear route to the tryline.

But he is hit hard from behind by ahis opposite number Jao Granate and Os Lobos regain posession.

Portugal work back up-field and win a penalty in the opposition half for a tackle on a man without the ball.

Time for a water break.

05:06 PM BST

16 min WAL 7 POR 0

Try saving tackle from Faletau!

Beautiful footwork from Sousa Guededs the Portuguese full-back. He steps through and sets up a two-one-one before giving flanker Nicolas Martins a run-in from 30+ metres out.

But Faleatau rolls back the years to track down the open-side and make the tackle.

His teammates will be thanking him there.

Taulupe Faletau (right) makes a last ditch tackle on Nicolas Martins of Portugal
Taulupe Faletau (right) makes a last ditch tackle on Nicolas Martins of Portugal - Getty Images /Dan Mullan

05:03 PM BST

15 min WAL 7 POR 0

And they win the penalty!

Portgual tap quickly and spread the ball beautifully with a couple of miss-passes.

They then show some cute handling to move up beyond the Welsh 10-metre line.

One of the props then puts in a duff pass and Wales have it back.

05:02 PM BST

13 min WAL 7 POR 0

Wales knock-on through Tomos Williams who looks to snip off the lineout maul.

Time for a scrum. A good early test to see if Os Lobos can hold their own.

05:00 PM BST

10 min WAL 7 POR 0

It’s a carnival atmosphere here in Nice and Wales have been seduced into a fast, loose start - not unlike their opener against Fiji. Very interesting to see how this plays out from here.

04:58 PM BST

TRY WALES! 10 min WAL 7 POR 0

Louis Rees-Zammit goes over!

If there’s one player who won’t mind playing the game at a furious pace, it’s Rees Lightning.

The flying winger scores his second World Cup try in as many games.

Rees-Zammit is fed the ball from Jac Morgan and puts a clever grubber in to go around the winger. From there, he’s simply too fast for the back-pedaling Portuguese defence and gathers before diving for the line.

Anscombe adds the extras, and Wales lead.

04:55 PM BST

7 min WAL 0 POR 0

Portugal are drawing Wales into a dog fight early on. They are turned over, but as Wales look to counter, Os Lobos intercept and almost find themselves breaking away themselves.

A kick exchange is then followed by a neat chip by Portugal which they gather.

The rain appears to have cleared up, and with the pace the game has been played at so far,  it looks like we are due to see some good running rugby.

04:52 PM BST

5 min WAL 0 POR 0

The ball rebounds off the post, and an early opportunity to take the lead goes begging for Portugal. Wales 22-metre dropout.

04:52 PM BST

4 min WAL 0 POR 0

Portugal use their big runners to pepper the Wales line.

The Welsh defence is well-organised and repels the attack, but Johnny Williams is peanlised for offside.

Portugal point for the sticks and have the chance to take the lead.

04:50 PM BST

2 min WAL 0 POR 0

Wales keep it in the hands early looking for an outside shoulder.

They build to 10 phases before shipping out to the backs, but it’s good early defence from Portugal.

Os Lobos go for the jackal and force the penalty for holding on.

They kick for the corner and have a lineout on the 22.

04:48 PM BST

1 min WAL 0 POR 0

And we’re off!

Portugal get us under way and kick deep.

Wales knock it back and then regain the ball on halfway.

04:47 PM BST

Kick-off moments away

Wales also give a good showing of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

We’re just minutes away from kick-off in Nice.

Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed that neither side is wearing their home kit, with Wales in black and Portugal in white. This is part of World Rugby’s initiative help fans with colour vision deficiency (CVD) distinguish between the teams.

04:45 PM BST

Time for the anthems

A boisterous performance from Portugal in their first World Cup match for a generation.

You can see the passion etched on the faces of each and every player.

They’ve described this as their World Cup final, and judging by the tears on the faces of some players, it sounds like they really meant it...

Portugal players passionately belt out their national anthem
Portugal players passionately belt out their national anthem - AP/Daniel Cole

04:44 PM BST

Injury update

Tommy Reffell has been ruled out in the warm-up and has been replaced by Jac Morgan.

It’s unclear if Reffell has picked up an injury. More to come.

04:39 PM BST

Like father like son for Portugal

Jeronimo Portela follows in his father’s footsteps by playing in a World Cup after being named at flyhalf for today’s clash.

Miguel Portela played three times at the 2007 tournament, also staged in France, against Romania, New Zealand and Scotland.

Portela the younger, 22, leads a dangerous backline that also includes scrumhalf Samuel Marques, captain Tomas Appleton, a dentist by trade, and his centre partner Jose Lima.

Vincent Pinto and Rodrigo Marta are the two wings and Nuno Sousa Guedes is at fullback in an exciting back three who will look to run the ball at every opportunity.

Pinto is a former French junior international, one of four in the side to represent the host nation in the past.

Mike Tadjer, who plays in France’s Top 14 for Perpignan, is at hooker with props Francisco Fernandes and Anthony Alves either side of him.

Jose Madeira and Steevy Cerqueira are in the second row, while flanker Joao Granate and Nicolas Martins are at the back of the scrum with number eight Rafael Simoes.

Thirteen players in the starting team play their club rugby in France, though all but Tadjer for lower league sides.

04:27 PM BST

Wales make 13 changes

Coming off the back of a six-day turnaround, and having been forced to make a whopping 243 tackles against Fiji, Warren Gatland has made 13 changes to his side from Bordeaux.

Only wing Louis Rees-Zammit and number eight Taulupe Faletau remain from that line-up, with four players - Mason Grady, Johnny Williams, skipper Dewi Lake and Christ Tshiunza - making their World Cup debuts.

Gareth Anscombe starts at fly-half, having missed the 2019 tournament though injury. He almost suffered the same fate again four years on after an injury to his thumb forced him to miss out on the warm-up games.

“It’s been a wild ride for myself and, more than anything, I’m just really proud to be here. I hope to do as well as I can and be part of this Welsh team doing something special.”

21-year-old Tshiunza only started playing rugby seriously at school six years ago but now finds himself starting in a World Cup match.

The second row, who plays his rugby for Exeter, says his family “haven’t got a clue” about the rules of rugby but are very supportive.

“They don’t know the rules, but I am glad they can come and support.”

04:11 PM BST

Warren Gatland: 'Portugal potential banana skin'

They deserve to be here at the world.

Their first game they said is their World Cup final. For us it’s always potentially a banana skin.

We’ve made a number of changes. The message to those boys is go out there, put in a performance and put your hand up for selection next week against Australia.

04:04 PM BST

And for Portugal

Portugal team guide
Portugal team guide

04:04 PM BST

Our experts' view of Wales' record and prospects

Wales team guide
Wales team guide

04:02 PM BST

The teams


Starting XV: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Louis Rees-Zammit, 13-Mason Grady, 12-Johnny Williams, 11-Rio Dyer, 10-Gareth Anscombe, 9-Tomos Williams, 1-Nicky Smith, 2-Dewi Lake, 3-Dillon Lewis, 4-Christ Tshiunza, 5-Dafydd Jenkins, 6-Dan Lydiate, 7-Tommy Reffell, 8-Taulupe Faletau

Replacements:16-Ryan Elias, 17-Corey Domachowski, 18-Tomas Francis, 19-Adam Beard, 20-Taine Basham, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Sam Costelow, 23-Josh Adams


Starting XV: 15-Nuno Sousa Guedes, 14-Vincent Pinto, 13-Jose Lima, 12-Tomas Appleton, 11-Rodrigo Marta, 10-Jeronimo Portela, 9-Samuel Marques, 1-Francisco Fernandes, 2-Mike Tadjer, 3-Anthony Alves, 4-Martim Belo, 5-Steevy Cerqueira, 6-Joao Granate, 7-Nicolas Martins, 8-Rafael Simoes

Replacements: 16-David Costa, 17-Lionel Campergue, 18-Diogo Hasse Ferreira, 19-Thibault de Freitas, 20-David Wallis de Carvalho, 21-Pedro Lucas, 22-Joris Moura, 23-Raffaele Storti Referee: Karl Dickson

03:56 PM BST

Wales look to steady ship against Portuguese underdogs

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s coverage of this afternoon’s Pool C clash between Wales and Portugal in uncharacteristically rainy Nice.

Wales come into this game looking to steady the ship after their World Cup campaign almost got off to a rocky start last week in a thrilling 32-26 victory over Fiji. But for a handling error by Semi Radradra as the try line beckoned in the final play and some lenient refereeing of Welsh infringements in the red zone, it could have been a very different story.

With Fiji picking up two losing bonus points in the fixture, the group could come down to fine margins. So, every point will count for Warren Gatland’s side today.

These two sides have never played one another in the professional era. Their only previous encounter came in 1994, in Lisbon, when Wales won 102-11 as they sought qualification for the 1995 World Cup.

Portugal’s last appearance at the World Cup came in France back in 2007 when they were ejected in the pool stages but gave Romania a good run for their money in their final group game. With two tier-one nations in their pool in Wales and Australia, as well as much improved Georgia and Fiji outfits, it’s difficult to see them progressing further this time around.

Unsurprisingly, the Os Lobos class of RWC 2007 are long retired, but assistant coach Luis Pissarra was in the squad back then, and the players will hope to draw on his experience.

Speaking ahead of today’s clash, Portugal coach coach Patrice Lagisquet said: “Everybody’s not expecting Portugal to qualify for the quarterfinal, but all of the players want to show they deserve to be at this World Cup and that they can play good rugby.”

Wales assistant coach Mike Forshaw said: “We have to do our basics well and give them the respect they deserve, but we want to impose ourselves on this team.

“If you look at their backs they have got quite a few sevens players, they play that coast-to-coast game, so we will have to cut that supply off with our defence and our urgency to take space from them.

“They have similar threats to the Fijians, so we have to be right on it.”