DURBAN – Wales had to scrap tooth and nail to beat a frenzied Fiji side yesterday, when it had been predicted they would win comfortably, but rather than their lucky escape eroding their Championship credentials, I think it enhances them.
Fiji, when they find their mojo, can give any tier one team a hard time and yesterday it was the Welsh on the receiving end of a flying Fijian side that for most of the game looked like they were going to engineer an upset.
But Wales found a way to win. That is the hallmark of very good teams - they win the tough games. The All Blacks over the years have been exceptional at that, they have the wherewithal to sneak the spoils.
Yesterday’s match reminded me of the Fiji v Springbok quarter-final in Marseilles in 2007. That was also a day when the Pacific Islanders hit their straps. The Boks didn’t have an answer but hung in and then there was a rousing effort at the death to win the game off a line-out maul.
The Boks were outplayed that day, but won and went onto win the Webb Ellis Cup. Wales were mostly outplayed but doggedly manufactured a victory when so many previous Wales teams would have perished.