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Josh Adams of Wales

Adams tackle sets tone for great Wales win

And breathe! Welsh rugby fans up and down the country, as well as the thousands at Stade de Bordeaux, were finally able to exhale after Semi Radradra’s knock-on allowed Matt Carley to blow his whistle to end a breathless World Cup clash between Jac Morgan’s side and Fiji.

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Two tries in the final few minutes brought the Fijians back to within six points of Wales after they had trailed their Pool C opponents by 17 points after 66 minutes.

No wonder, then, that ‘Captain Jac’ gave his team a glowing reference at the end of the game. They made 248 tackles over the course of the game, with lock Will Rowlands leading the way with 27 and prop Gareth Thomas not far behind with 23.

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“It was a great game and we dug in deep. Our discipline let us down and there were a couple of errors that let Fiji into the game,” said Morgan, who clocked 21 tackles himself, and also claimed an assist for Louis Rees-Zammit’s try with a pin-point cross-kick.

“Full credit to Fiji, the way they play with ball in hand they put a lot of pressure on us. But our defence held tight in the end, and we can take a lot of pride from that.

“We stuck together as they kept on coming. Our mentality as a group is never to give up and we work hard for each other.

“We’ve been through some tough camps in the build-up to the World Cup this summer and when it got tough, we stuck at it and dug deep.”

Dan Biggar, playing at his third and final World Cup, kicked 12 points as he overtook Neil Jenkins as the highest points scorer for Wales at the World Cup. He set the tone for victory by giving his side perfect start with a 45 metre penalty in the second minute.

“We always seem to make it hard for ourselves, but we make up for that with huge effort and determination. The result was the only thing that mattered,” said Biggar.

“The Josh Adams tackle and turn over in the second half was huge. It was a big moment that meant a lot to us.

“It was technically brilliant. There were lots of huge moments for us in the game, but that was right up there.”

Next up for Wales is Portugal in Nice on Saturday and head coach Warren Gatland will be taking lots of learnings from his side’s first game.

“I’m delighted we won the game, but the disappointing aspect is we made some dumb decisions when we looked to be in control of the game. At 32-14 the game was comfortable, and we just had to keep our accuracy and discipline,” said Gatland.

“We had to squeeze them and not allow them any opportunities. That for me is the biggest disappointment.

“We always talk about being a team that likes to build momentum and there will be a lot of learnings from this game. We will get better as the tournament goes on.

“It’s a massive win and the guys put in a real shift. That Josh Adams tackle summed up the effort.

“The time we’ve had together as a squad has been invaluable. For 65 minutes we thought we had worked their forwards pretty hard and looked comfortable in terms of territory and possession.

“But when they get close, they can punish you as we saw in the last 15 minutes.”

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