Wales beat England 28-25 to leave them on the brink of becoming the first host nation not to make the World Cup knockout stage and former Wales winger Ieuan Evans says they will be feeling that pressure.
“There is a possibility that England will get knocked out this weekend,” Evans told Sky Sports News.
“Especially if Wales overcome Fiji which I think they will. That would put even more pressure on England and Australia – England know that they have to beat Australia on Saturday night. It is knock-out rugby already and we have not got out of the pool stages yet.
“The pressure is building on England.”
Wales face a difficult game against Fiji and Evans says they need to manage not only the quick five-day turn around, but also the euphoria of beating England in such dramatic circumstances.
“There is a huge amount at stake for Wales. They need to react positively after that emotional high from last weekend and make sure all the great characteristics that held them in good stead against England – clarity, composure and cohesion – are back for Fiji.
“Fiji are a decent side, even though they have lost quality players like Nemani Nadolo and Nikola Matawalu. They still have some superb players like Leone Nakarawa in the second row, and Levani Botia in the centre who is very physical presence. They are a well organised side.
“Wales need to focus on the set-piece which at times was not great against England – if you want to beat Fiji then the set-piece is key.”
Spine of the team
Wales’ injury woes have been well documented and Warren Gatland has called upon the promising young talents of Mathew Morgan and Tyler Morgan. Both have plenty of potential but Evans, who won 72 caps for Wales, says that it is the old heads that will get Wales past Fiji.
“Mathew Morgan has been compared to the great Shane Williams and has the X-factor while Tyler Morgan brings youthful exuberance. However, they will rely on the experience around them.
“For me the key players will be the front row, Alun Wynn Jones who was immense against England, the back row and Dan Biggar who gives the side cohesion and game management. You really need that against Fiji – you can’t allow them to run the ball all over the park.”