Wales player ratings: Dan Biggar leads the way in narrow win over Fiji

David Skippers
Dan Biggar Wales v Fiji RWC 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar takes on Fiji's defence in Bordeaux.

After their 32-26 Rugby World Cup victory against Fiji at the Stade de Bordeaux, here’s how the Wales team performed on Sunday.

15 Liam Williams: Showed his class with a perfectly weighted skip pass to Josh Adams, who got over for the opening try, and continued to look dangerous with ball in hand during the rest of the match. Was also safe under the high ball and finished with 65 metres gained from 10 runs. 8

14 Louis Rees-Zammit: The young flyer was a constant threat on attack and although he took some big hits it did not deter him. Eventually gained 52 metres from seven runs with two clean breaks and a match-high eight defenders beaten. 8

Good attacking play from experienced campaigner

13 George North: The experienced outside back caught the eye with some excellent running lines and he was rewarded with a well-taken try late in the opening half. North finished with 37 metres gained from seven carries which included a couple of clean breaks and eight defenders beaten. 8

12 Nick Tompkins: The Saracens stalwart put in a solid shift as he made some good attacking runs while also impressing on defence. Eventually gained 43 metres from 12 runs while also making 15 hits although he missed five. 7

11 Josh Adams: The 28-year-old continued where he left off at the 2019 World Cup in Japan – where he finished as that tournament’s top try-scorer – when he crossed for an early five-pointer. Continued to test Fiji’s defence with some strong carries but quiet in other areas. 7

10 Dan Biggar: The Toulon fly-half missed a tackle on Waisea Nayacalevu early on and the Fiji captain pounced to score his team’s first try from that error. Put that setback behind him and came back strongly with his brilliant playmaking skills and a solid goal-kicking performance. Was replaced in the 67th minute with Wales holding a 32-14 lead but they lost their way without him in the game’s closing stages. 9

9 Gareth Davies: Made a lively start as he took the fight to the Fijians with some sniping breaks and provided a slick service to his outside backs. Was forced of the field for a HIA after a high tackle late in the first half and eventually replaced permanently by Tomos Williams early in the second. 7

8 Taulupe Faletau: The experienced back-row returned to action after a lengthy stint on the sidelines and put his body on the line with a big defensive shift. Finished with 11 tackles made and none missed but quiet in other areas. 6

7 Jac Morgan: The Welsh skipper was at the heart of his team’s forward onslaught as he was a willing ball carrier and also impressed on defence where he finished with 21 tackles made. 8

6 Aaron Wainwright: The Dragons back-row impressed with some fine attacking runs and finished with 22 metres gained while he also shone on defence where he made 16 hits. Was sacrificed in the game’s closing stages when Corey Domachowski received a yellow card and Gareth Thomas returned for scrummaging purposes. 8

5 Adam Beard: Did what was expected of him in the lineouts, where he won his fair share of possession, and also put in a big defensive shift with 11 hits completed. 6

Massive defensive shift

4 Will Rowlands: The Racing 92 second-row was at the forefront of Wales’ defensive effort as he finished the game with a whopping 26 tackles made, which was more than any other player in this match. Was also prominent in the lineouts. 8

3 Tomas Francis: The Ospreys front-row was solid in the scrums and also put in a big effort on defence where he made 11 tackles but less prominent in other facets of play and replaced in the 63rd minute by Dillon Lewis. 7

2 Ryan Elias: Came into the run-on side as co-captain Dewi Lake is not yet fit and did well in the tight exchanges. He also impressed on defence where he completed 11 tackles but replaced by Elliot Dee early in the second half. 7

1 Gareth Thomas: He caught the eye with an impressive scrummaging effort but made his biggest impact on defence where he completed 23 tackles, which was second most after Rowlands. 8

Replacements: Wales reserve strength did not really stand out and they were tested to the limit during the closing stages of this match when the Fijians launched a great fightback. Things went awry when Biggar left the field although they managed to hold on for the win but only just. 5

READ MORE: Wales cling on to edge Rugby World Cup thriller against Fiji