Wales have rallied to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals by beating Fiji 29-17 in an yellow card and TMO-packed Pool D clash.
Winger Josh Adams grabbed a hat-trick of tries as a battered and bruised Wales ground to a bonus-point win.
In a frenzied clash under the roof at Oita Stadium on Wednesday, Warren Gatland’s team lost talismanic flyhalf Dan Biggar to a head injury for a second time in the tournament shortly after the Fijians surged into the lead early in the second half of the Pool D clash.
A penalty try to Fiji produced a huge scare for Welsh fans who hold bitter memories of the nightmare in Nantes when the Pacific islanders knocked them out of the 2007 World Cup.
But Adams steadied the ship with his hat-trick try on the hour mark and fullback Liam Williams crossed 12 minutes from the siren to settle the game.
The result ensured Wales, with 14 points, leapfrogged Australia (11 points) to top the pool ahead of their final clash against emerging nation Uruguay.
But the Welsh, with England or France awaiting them in the quarter-finals, will be counting the cost, with Adams and Jonathan Davies also suffering injuries.
However, it’s projected that the Wallabies will get the tougher match against England, who are favoured to win Pool C by beating France on Saturday.
Despite Wales’ ten-day break, it was Fiji charging out of the blocks. After a penalty for offside brought the ball to the five-metre line, Fiji spread the ball wide to winger Josua Tuisova, who planted it next to the right corner flag.
After a Wales and a Fiji try were both disallowed by TMO review, Wales hooker Ken Owens was yellow-carded for flipping No.8 Viliame Mata.
Semi Radradra, named player of the match, then set up a try for fullback Kini Murimurivalu in the right corner.
Fly half Ben Volavola couldn’t covert and Biggar soon set up Wales’ opener with a sumptuous cross-kick to Adams.
Flanker Semi Kunatani saw yellow for a fourth off-side penalty with Adams grabbing another try for the Welsh on the right flank.
Fiji trailed 14-10 at the break but blew a chance to retake the lead in the 49th minute with a forward pass disallowing Radradra’s try.
The game then changed when Davies was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement. Fiji kicked for the corner, rumbled a line out drive to the line and were awarded a penalty try after Wales collapsed the maul.
Then Liam Williams clattered into Biggar as both attempted to catch a clearing kick. After several minutes of medical attention, Biggar groggily got to his feet and jogged off.
Replacement Rhys Patchell slotted a 42-metre penalty and minutes later Adams had his hat-trick following a stunning line break by Davies.
Fiji were then guilty of a defensive blunder late on as scrumhalf Gareth Davies cantered through a hole to set up Williams for the sealing try.