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Wales player ratings vs Fiji | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Daniel Gallan
Jac Morgan - PA

Wales player ratings: A single knock-on. That will be the reason many cite when trying to figure out how Wales won a match that they probably deserved to lose. But that’s far too simplistic. They won this utterly breathless slugfest because they tackled with accuracy, ferocity and unreal bravery.

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They made 241 tackles and missed 32 for a success rate of 85 per cent. They won six turnovers in their own half. This was backs-to-the-wall resistance and, depending on your point of view, might compel you to believe that they were deserving bonus-point winners.

15 – Liam Williams – 6
Struggled to assert control early on in the face of a Fijian blitz but settled as the game went on. Brave tackles on Radrada in each half demonstrated his commitment to the cause. However, his kick out on the full right at the death, which allowed Fiji to build again, could have cost his side.

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14 – Louis Rees-Zammit – 6
Got his try which was just reward for being Wales’ busiest back in terms of metres made. A couple of clean breaks and a whopping eight defenders beaten point to a job well done.

13 – George North – 7
Ran brilliant lines from midfield whenever Wales had front foot ball. One surgical thrust resulted in a try. Just not enough ball to really leave his mark on the match.

12 – Nick Tompkins – 6
Some clever passes, especially the delayed assist for North’s try, were rare highlights from backline player in red.

11 – Josh Adams – 6
Spun out of a few tackles when he got his mitts on the ball and also scored a try to set an early tone. A clever step and jink, as well as a cool finish, meant he continued his impressive scoring rate against Fiji.

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10 – Dan Biggar – 7
Spent much of his time fuming at his teammates for looking to attack from every corner of the pitch. Was targeted by Fiji’s runners and didn’t always hold his ground, but he fronted up physically at other times an was among the top tacklers in the match. When the game threatened to break apart he looked to have the most composed head of the lot. Replacedby Sam Costelow on 67 minutes.

9 – Gareth Davies – 6.5
A few rushed moves but conducted traffic well enough when his team managed to get going in the right direction. Contributed with four tackles and only one miss. In a game that was defined by the craft of stopping athletes in white run past you, that is a telling contribution. Subbed for Tomos Williams on 52 minutes

1 – Gareth Thomas – 8
Made 21 tackles and would have made a whole lot more if he wasn’t subbed for Corey Domachowski on 63 minutes. A heroic performance.

2 – Ryan Elias – 6
Accomplished one of his primary tasks by being accurate at the line-out. Almost had a try when he charged from close range but also could have had a yellow card for a no-arm tackle. A night full of huff and puff from the hooker. Taken off for Elliot Dee on 53 minutes.

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3 – Tomas Francis – 7
Big carries and solid in the scrum. Impenetrable around the fringe when tasked with defending. Made it to 63 minutes before being replaced by Dillon Lewis.

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4 – Will Rowlands – 9
Mighty on defence with an astonishing 26 tackles without missing a single one. Also got his head down to win four turnovers. Wales won this because of their defence and Rowlands was the standout player in this regard.

5 – Adam Beard – 5
Wales’ go-to at the line-out, he too put in a proper shift on defence. Mostly on the periphery until he was replaced just before the hour mark by Daffyd Jenkins.

6 – Aaron Wainwright – 6
Weak in the tackle for Fiji’s first try but made amends soon after when he pounced on a loose ball.  The fourth-best tackler for Wales and one of the few loose forwards who made some yards with ball in hand. Replaced on 70 minutes for Gareth Thomas but returned with a minute to go.

7 – Jac Morgan – 7
An industrious night for the skipper. He’ll just be glad to have got the win. Set up Rees-Zammit’s try with a surprising but perfectly executed cross-kick.

8 – Taulupe Faletau – 6
A quiet night on attack. But then it was one of those nights for Wales. Still, some soft touches in tight spaces were noteworthy. His primary task against Fiji’s runners was to stand strong on defence and he did just that. Replaced just before the hour for Tommy Reffell.

16 – Elliot Dee – 7
Scored a try from a rolling maul and only missed a single tackle from 13 attempts. An impressive cameo from the bench.

17 – Corey Domachowski – 5
Held his own when he came on but gave away a silly penalty with his team on a warning. That ill discipline might have cost his side.

18 – Dillon Lewis  – 6
Struggled to keep Fiji’s scrum in check but tackled anything that he could reach. Solid.

19 – Dafydd Jenkins – 6
Only played half an hour and yet still ended with the eighth-most tackles. Won a couple of line-outs as well.

20 – Tommy Reffell – 7
Made a mighty hit that quickly led to a turnover before Biggar nailed a 50-22 after the hour mark that felt like a turning point in the match. Events in a rugby match can feel like a series of falling dominoes and that particular move shifted momentum. Who knows if Fiji would have won it if they had instead spent that time in Wales’ territory.

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21 – Tomos Williams – 5
Was tasked with an almost impossible job of turning the tide as momentum was fully with Fiji.

22 – Sam Costelow – 5
Couldn’y maintain the composure and control shown by Biggar. Still, he made an important tackle late on as Fiji were building an attack off the base of a solid scrum.

23 – Rio Dyer – 5
A spectator. Or should that be a defending spectator. Made one tackle. Missed another. This was not a game for reserve Welsh outside backs.

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6 Comments
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Giannis 315 days ago

over-rated notes, one team was not physically fit and tried all excuses to catch their breath during the game.

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Tim 2 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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