Rhodri Jeremiah, sky Sports Rugbys resident stats guru, requires a closer look at the stats out of Wales thrilling 29-17 Rugby World Cup win over Fiji.
They automatically think of Nantes in 2007 when their countrymen lost 38-34 in the pool stages of the World Cup in Stade de la Beaujoire when Welsh lovers hear that the word Fiji.
Eight minutes later on Wednesday, Warren Gatlands side were 10-0 down and it seemed like deja vu. However, a difference is with this Wales side in contrast to 2007. Albeit awful, they know how to win.
Everyone loves seeing Fiji play, just not against the nation theyre supporting. They play an exciting brand of rugby – they always look threatening with ball in hand, even from inside their own 22.
In assault, Fiji left 117 carries and 465 yards, beating at 32 defenders along the way. Wales, as compared, made fewer conveys (83), fewer yards (384) and also beat fewer defenders (19).
Fiji flyer Semi Radradra was named player of the game, despite being on the losing side – an extremely unusual occurrence nowadays. But Radradras operation was special, not Wales hat-trick hero Josh Adams made the grade.
Radradra, that plies his trade with Bordeaux-Begles at the Best 14, created the most conveys (18), second most lawns (124) and beat seven defenders. He was also player of the match in the previous pool conflict against Georgia of Fiji. In that game, he also scored two created five breaks efforts and conducted for 177 metres. He is a joy to watch.
Fiji offload at will and Leone Nakarawas basketball-style dip from the lead-up into the opening try was a collectors item. Even the second-row offloaded three occasions in the game – the most by any player in this game.
Since that defeat in Nantes at 2007, Wales have not lost to Fiji. They have confronted each other on four occasions, Wednesday discounting, and also have won three and drawn one. After Adams crossed over after 17 minutes, normality was being restored. Wales were beginning to take control and to quote Warren Gatlands famous phrase, his group haveforgotten the way to shed.
Jonathan Davies dan Biggar and Liam Williams were standout actors on Wednesday. These are leaders they know that when the going gets toughthey perform what they do and revert to form. Biggar had a fine match with the boot, not just but additionally with ball in hand. Some might say the result would have been different when Fiji 10 Ben Volavolad had the hanging boots of Biggar as he missed his kicks both off the tee.
Davies and Adams functioned for the third try which set Wales on track for success – Davies along with his trademark hand-off and a offload for Adams to complete in the corner in tandem.
Williams had a good match in the 15 shirt which makes the 2nd most absorbs (14), many yards (141) and scoring the bonus-point clinching try.
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards wouldnt have been happy with his sides defensive display. They made 126 tackles but, alarmingly for him, they missed 32.
This is not the first time Wales have missed over 30 tackles in games. Against Australia, they missed 31, and they also missed the amount from the first World Cup warm-up fixture against England at Twickenham. From Scotland 36 was missed by them in the Six Nations. This can be a trend for any Welsh enthusiast and one which needs rectifying when they are to progress much farther in the competition.
Wales play with Uruguay on Sunday in their final pool fixture, and then they will be facing France from the quarter-finals Sunday week at Oita, if that outcome goes their way.
All of Wales will hope there isnt a repeat of that starting 40 in Paris down. It will certainly be a case of deja vu, if that occurs.
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