Fiji promised to make a memorable exit from the 2011 Rugby World Cup after failing to qualify for the next round. Their wish was granted when heavyweight Wales thrashed them 66-0. Fiji hoped for a cheerful sendoff after their last match but their fun session was cut short by the Welsh field trip.
Wales ruthlessly brought wave after wave of attacks to run 9 tries at the Waikato Stadium, in the process they grabbed a flawless victory. Wales coach, Warren Gatland had already warned the Fijians prior to the match about a tough game, but by the last whistle of the game his words seemed to be an understatement for the proceedings.
“We spoke at half-time about what good teams would do with that kind of score (31-0) and not take their foot off the pedal. And I thought we did that,” Gatland said. “The pleasing thing from our point of view was we were in front. We could have easily slacked off, conceded a couple of tries, but we kept working until the 80th minute.”
Welsh winger, George North played like a true prodigy. The 19-year-old played like a seasoned veteran because of which he was granted the man-of-the-match award. North, was all over the place with tries and assists. Gatland was all praise for his young players when he described the weak points in Fijian defense.
Gatland explained that there were far too many gaps for the Welsh to penetrate. He also admitted that although Fiji could not score against them, they did help concede 12 penalties, which was unacceptable.
Fijian coach, Samu Domoni agreed that his lack lustrous team was not up to the task, he confessed, “To have an error rate of more than 30 at this level is disappointing. We take responsibility for that,” Domoni explained. “The score line reflects our performance. It's a disappointing performance.”
Netani Edward Talei, skipper of the Fijian team said that experience played a large role in the match. He said that the Fiji barely had a chance standing up against the like of Wales, “I think they played very well today. We tried to stretch them out wide and take them up the middle, but it didn't work for us. We dropped a lot of balls and they countered from it.”