Wales were looking to keep their competition alive as they had the difficult task of trying to get the points from a Fiji side which demolished the USA on the opening weekend.
No-one gave John Kear’s Welsh side and chance of upsetting the form book and taking the points, as he made five changes to last weeks defeated side.
The Townsville Stadium in Queensland was the venue and the pre-match Fijian sung prayer raised the goosebumps.
It looked ominous for the Welsh when Fiji hit the front on five minutes after big prop forward Eloni Vunakece crashed over from short range. Apisai Koroisau kicked the conversion for 6-0 in as many minutes.
Against the run of play the Welsh were level on ten minutes when Craig Kopczak offloaded to Morgan Knowles on the Fiji line who just had to drop over the line. Courtney Davies added the goal to level the scores.
Three minutes later and Fiji regained the lead when Taane Milne found Suliasi Vunivalu wide on the right to go in on the overlap. Koroisau couldn’t convert from the touchline.
Fiji scored with the kick-off return Salesi Faingaa found Jarryd Hayne who in turn found Henry Raiwalui onrushing in Support to take the pass and dive over under the sticks. Koroisau was able to add the extras for 16-6 and the Welsh needed to halt the onslaught before the game got away from them.
Uate went close on eighteen but on twenty-one Kikau took a short Raiwalui pass to break the line and go in from twenty metres as the Welsh fell off the tackles. Koroisau added the two from the touchline and Fiji were edging out of sight.
Faingaa got the fifth Fiji try on twenty-six when a ricochet from a kick through hit his thigh before he picked up the loose ball and grounded. Once again Koroisau kicked the extras for a 28-6 lead, the Fijians averaging a point a minute.
It was becoming a procession on the half hour mark when Milne took a Hayne pass, in acres of space, to walk over from five metres but Koroisau was unable to add the extras.
Two minutes later and Marcelo Montoya backed up a great Akuila Uate jinking break to take a pass just short of the Welsh line and dive over. Koroisau again failed with the boot. On the stroke of half time Kikau took a Raiwalui pass to weave through the Welsh defence and bring up the forty. Milne added the conversion for a 42-6 half time lead.
It had been a devastating first forty from Fiji and the Welsh were fishing it was full time rather than them having to endure another half.
Eighty seconds into the second half and Vunivalu broke the line and found Hayne in support to walk ten metres and score under the uprights. Milne kicked the extras and the Welsh half time talk already lay in tatters.
An acrobatic Vunivalu try took Fiji through the fifty mark on fifty minutes as he scored the tenth try for his side. Milne kicked brilliantly from the touchline and the Fijians were totally dominant.
Try eleven came on fifty-five when Milne grabbed his second off a flat pass from Faingaa but Milne failed with the conversion of his own try for 58-6 and the highest ever points tally for Fiji in the World Cup.
The sixty mark was passed with Vunivalu’s hat-trick try, taking an offload and two strides to ground in the right corner. Vulivanu attempted the conversion but slid the ball in front of the sticks. Ben Nakubuwai broke the line on sixty-four and found Joe Lovodua in support to go forty metres to score. Vunivalu kicked the goal from under the sticks for 68-6.
Try fourteen came on sixty-nine when Lovodua fed Nakubuwai to go through an exhausted Wales defence to score and become Fiji’s tenth try scorer of the night. Milne missed the extras.
Wales managed to hold out for the last eleven minutes but Fiji had recorded a record breaking victory at 72-6.
Fiji were simply in a different class to the Welsh and with the exception of the opening ten minutes they dominated proceedings completely. Wales are now out of the competition and will hope to regain some self-respect against Ireland next week. Fiji are now favourites for the quarter finals and look likely to have a game against New Zealand who will have watched today’s game with some concern.
Fiji: Naiqama, Vunivalu (3T, G), Milne (2T, 3G), Uate, Montoya (T), Hayne (T), Raiwalui (T), Sims, Koroisau (4G), Vunakece (T), Kikau (2T), Faingaa (T), Kamikamica. Subs: Lovodua (T), Saifiti, Roqica, Nakubuwai (T).
Wales: Kear, Williams, Channing, Roberts, Grace, Davies (G), Grant, Kopczak, Parry, Joseph, Lloyd, Burke, Knowles (T). Subs: Fozzard, Barren, Evans, Ansell.
Referee: Chris Kendall.