RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Friday, 2 October 1:45am
Wales upset the odds on Saturday night by snapping victory from the jaws of defeat against the tournament hosts at Twickenham. The result means there is now added expectation on this Welsh side but Warren Gatland knows that victory over Fiji on Thursday will really put the heat on England (as if it wasn’t already) when they take on Australia. The only negative from Wales’ point of view is that they have three new injury concerns yet defensive coach Shaun Edwards is adamant they will field as strong a side as possible. Fiji have provided stern tests for both England and Australia so far and have the added advantage of three days extra rest than their opposition here.
Wales will know all about Fiji’s threat having lost to them at this stage eight years ago before making up for that defeat in 2011 with a resounding 66-0 win. However, recent clashes between these two at the Millennium Stadium suggest this will be a lot tighter. In 2005 a single point separated the two sides and in 2010 they drew 16-16. In their most recent meeting last year, Fiji lost by just four points.
That victory against England means Wales have now won eight of their last nine matches though they’ve just twice won by more than seven (against Uruguay and Italy). Their World Cup record is similar; other than against minnows the Welsh have recorded just one victory by more than 12 points since 2003.
Fiji’s record against Six Nations opponents is poor with just one win (versus Italy) and six losses since the last World Cup with three defeats by 24 points or more, although as mentioned above they troubled Wales in 2014. They’ve been competitive in their two games so far as they’ve covered their pre-match handicaps. We fully expect them to make it three from three with the points.
- Wales have won eight of their last nine matches
- Wales have won their last five World Cup group matches
- Fiji have lost their last five World Cup matches