Sunday, 30 September 2007

Fiji V Wales: The Best Game Of The Rugby World Cup

Fiji 38 - Wales 34

This game will go down as one of the greatest rugby matches of all time. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who could not have been transfixed by a test that swung to and fro in each team's favour. Nobody really thought Fiji would score such an upset, even after an amazing first 30 where they racked up three tries in nine minutes (the best of the trio, Delasau chasing down - gazelle like - his own kick into the goal area and benefiting from a lucky bounce at full stretch that evaded both Welsh defenders).

Up until this point, Wales were panicking and it showed in their poor decision making and error rate. It also didn't help that both their kickers were having an off night. Stephen Jones seemed to achieve the impossble by hitting the uprights on three different occasions when going for goal. But with the first half nearly up, Wales began to strike back and added some magic of their own to this stunning test match.

The Welsh had it over the Fijians at scrum time, but as is beginning to show in this tournament, having a strong scrum doesn't necessarily win you the big ones (ABs take note). Fiji losing momentum also lost a player to the sinbin before the first half was up and going into the second, Wales began to claw back the deficit. They scored two tries which were quite simply, beautiful. One was a Shane Williams solo effort with his characteristic side step and speed carving up the Fijian defence. His swan dive as he crossed the line perhaps wasn't called for as Wales at this stage were still 12 point down and as it came to pass, a tad premature to start the celebrations.

The rest of the match was a tug of war with both sides gaining ascendancy in patches. It was nail biting stuff but with Nicky Little kicking well for Fiji they managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over, even though the Welsh outscored the Fijians 5 tries to 4. In the 73rd minute it finally looked like it would be over for Mosese Rauluni's men when Martyn Williams snatched an intercept off a loose Little pass and ran to the posts. But it wasn't over and against all odds, Fiji came back with the final try resulting from a Delasau run and a Fijian forward surge on adrenaline that saw the ball cross the Welsh line, and in the process break a million hearts in the valleys.

As Gareth Jenkins said in a very gracious post match interview: This was an incredible game of rugby that entertained the crowd and will be talked about in years to come. Both teams can hold their heads high.

1 comment:

Nursedude said...

Hi Ferdy, back from France, knackered, but had a great time. This was a very good game. I cannot quite put this in the Same category as France-Australia in RWC 87 semifinals and France-NZ in 99...but this was a very riviting game. I watched this surrounded by a bunch of Matt's compatriots at a bar in Southern France who were cheering in a big way for Fiji. All credit to Fiji, who won this game more than Wales lost it.