Wales 28-8 Portugal: Warren Gatland’s side struggle to World Cup win against impressive Portugal

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Wales (14) 28
Tries: Rees-Zammit, Lake, Morgan, Faletau Cons: Halfpenny 3, Costelow
Portugal (3) 8
Tries: Martins Pens: Marques

Much-changed Wales struggled to a bonus-point World Cup victory over impressive Portugal in Nice.

Portugal excelled in the first half, but were trailing 14-3 at the break after Wales tries by Louis Rees-Zammit and captain Dewi Lake.

Flanker Jac Morgan, a late inclusion for the injured Tommy Reffell, scored before Portugal flanker Nicolas Martins crashed over.

Taulupe Faletau secured the bonus point with a late fourth try.

Portugal finished with 14 men after wing Vincent Pinto was shown a late red card for a reckless high boot on Josh Adams.

While Wales were incredibly underwhelming, Portugal deserve the plaudits for their adventurous attacking approach.

Wales had defeated Portugal 102-11 on the only other occasion they faced each other in 1994. There was never going to be a repeat of that.

There were eight places between the two sides in World Rugby’s rankings going into the game, but you would not have thought that after witnessing the contest on the French Riviera.

Portuguese semi-professionals

Portugal, who had semi-professional players in their ranks and are coached by former France wing Patrice Lagisquet, had come through qualification to start only a second World Cup campaign after appearing in the 2007 tournament.

Wales had started their 2023 adventure with a thrilling victory over Fiji in Bordeaux, Warren Gatland initially made 13 changes to the starting side with only number eight Faletau and wing Rees-Zammit starting.

That became 12 alterations when Wales had to cope with disruption after flanker Reffell pulled out late in the warm-up with squad co-captain Morgan replacing him in the starting side.

Wales defence coach Mike Forshaw had warned his side about what had happened to a much-changed France side who struggled against Uruguay on Thursday evening before winning 27-12 and similar events transpired.

It was a chance for Wales players to push their case for selection against Australia in Lyon on 24 September.

Not many would have improved their cases based on this performance, which was littered with mistakes and plagued by a malfunctioning line-out. Late inclusion Morgan managed to impress with a man-of-the-match display.

With Pool C still possibly being decided on points difference, Wales will be interested spectators when Fiji face Australia in Saint Etienne on Sunday.

More to follow.


Wales: L Halfpenny; Rees-Zammit, Grady, J Williams, Dyer; Anscombe, T Williams; Smith, Lake (capt), D Lewis, Tshiunza, Jenkins, Lydiate, Reffell, Faletau.

Replacements: Elias, Domachowski, Francis, Beard, Basham, G Davies, Costelow, Adams.

Sin-bin: J Williams 25

Portugal: Guedes; Pinto, Lima, Appleton (capt), Marta; Portela, Marques; Fernandes, Tadjer, Alves, Bello, Cerqueira, Granate, Martins, Simoes.

Replacements: Costa, Campergue, Ferreira, Freitas, Wallis, Lucas, Moura, Storti.

Red card: Pinto 79

Referee: Karl Dickson

Source: BBC News

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