Portugal 'job done' as Wales move on to Australia

Wales' right wing Louis Rees-Zammit (CL) consoles Portugal's lock Thibault de Freitas (CR) at the end of the Wales-Portugal World Cup match (NICOLAS TUCAT)
Wales' right wing Louis Rees-Zammit (CL) consoles Portugal's lock Thibault de Freitas (CR) at the end of the Wales-Portugal World Cup match (NICOLAS TUCAT)

It was a case of "job done" for Wales after battling to a bonus-point 28-8 World Cup victory over a combative Portugal in Nice on Saturday that sets them up nicely with two wins from two games in the tough Pool C.

The Welsh, 32-26 winners over Fiji in their opening game, needed an injury-time Taulupe Faletau try to secure the five points that puts the pressure squarely on pool rivals Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

A much-changed Wales scored two first-half tries through Louis Rees-Zammit and Dewi Lake, and one in the second period from Jac Morgan, all converted by Leigh Halfpenny, before Faletau's cherry on the cake.

Samuel Marques scored a penalty for Portugal before Nicolas Martins crossed for a well-deserved try in response, although they had Vincent Pinto red-carded in the dying moments after he made contact with Josh Adams' face with his boot.

"I've got to give full credit to Portugal," said man-of-the-match Morgan, who started at flanker for Wales after Tommy Reffell pulled up injured in the warm-up.

"I thought they were brilliant today. They brought that physicality and really tested us a few times in that game. They were very good."

Wales skipper Dewi Lake said the team knew "they would stick with us, they're not here for no reason".

"We had some nerve-wracking moments, they deserved their try but I think for us, going forward, we've got to be better.

"We've got to be more clinical in the 22. Last weekend we showed how clinical we could be but this weekend we let that slip.

"There are a lot of work-ons for us but we got the bonus point and we got the job done," with Wales next up against Australia, who play Fiji on Sunday in St Etienne, in Lyon on September 24.

- 'We were too shy' -

Portugal coach Patrice Lagisquet, the former France winger who appeared in two World Cups of his own in his playing days, was left ruing two mistakes that gifted two tries.

"We were too shy in the first half, we were not playing enough collectively," he said.

"We’ve shown in the second half we can play better rugby but I’m a bit disappointed with the red card because for me it was totally accidental.

"What I really appreciate is the behaviour of the players – they were really committed, fighting a lot, I’m really proud of their attitude."

Portugal captain Tomas Appleton acknowledged that the team had "made too many mistakes and at this level you suffer, so we need to correct a lot of things".

"We're really proud, especially as we have so many fans cheering for us. More proud of the environment and what we built over two years but the result wasn’t there," he said, with Portugal having only appeared in one previous World Cup, also in France, in 2007.

The take-away for Portugal, Appleton added, was "experience. For this young team, these young players, we have to be more confident in the way we can play".