Dan Biggar revealed that Wales drew inspiration from an unlikely source – England – after they held out for the win over Fiji that got them away to a World Cup flier.
A classic end to end contest could not have made for a greater contrast as a spectacle than 14-man England’s slow suffocation of Argentina but Biggar referenced it as Wales’s touch point for their 32-26 triumph.
“Probably for large areas of the game we were second best. We just dug in,” said the Wales stand-off.
“I’ve got to be honest, I thought England were absolutely magnificent after going down to 14 men and we spoke about having a similar mindset – working your absolute socks off. I think it was quite good for us watching that England game as a team.
“It was almost like the red card was better for England than Argentina. I thought it galvanised them and they defended in twos and threes extremely well, scrambled well, and forced a lot of errors.
“We knew we were going to have moments when we were up against it and we said we needed to really grind it out.
“Results are the only thing that matters in this tournament.”
Wales were forced to make 237 tackles according to the official match statistics in edging out the Pacific Islanders in Bordeaux and the substituted Biggar admitted he feared the worst from the bench late on as Fiji came agonisingly close to a dramatic comeback win.
“It felt like that clock was going backwards at some points – it was really tough to watch from the sidelines,” he said.
“We were certainly under the heat and it felt like everything was imploding didn’t it in that last 12 minutes or so? We did well to get across the line in the end.
“We were nowhere near perfect but you just saw the character, the desire, the commitment of the group. We just never gave in. We scrapped for absolutely everything. That’s exactly what this team is about.”
The Wales squad moved on to Nice yesterday ahead of their next match against Pool C minnows Portugal on Saturday.
Biggar’s message to the rest of his teammates is not to let the intensity drop on the French Riviera.
“Especially going to a very nice place in Nice, this week could turn a bit into holiday mode and that’s the exact opposite of what we need. We probably need a fair bit of work on the training pitch,” he said.
“There’s a lot for us to improve on in our game but the result is important because it makes training just that little bit easier rather than piling the pressure on for us for the next few weeks.”
Fiji face Australia on Sunday with their tournament now on the line but Wales No 8 Taulupe Faletau, who came through his first match in four months intact, believes Eddie Jones’s side will have their hands full against the dynamic Islanders.
“They can score from anywhere with the players they have got,” said Faletau. “They will be a tough team to play for anyone.”