Wales overcame a brave and passionate Portugal to make it two wins out of two at Rugby World Cup 2023 with a scrappy 28-8 victory in Pool C at Stade de Nice.
Wing Louis Rees-Zammit scored an early try and hooker Dewi Lake grabbed Wales’ second just before half-time to give them a 14-3 lead, but flanker Nicolas Martins was only denied a try in response by Taulupe Faletau’s recovery tackle.
Flanker Jac Morgan added a third but Portugal refused to give up and Martins deservedly claimed their first try on their return to the tournament after 16 years following a clever line-out move.
Faletau powered over with a last-gasp try to secure a bonus point for Wales.
“I’ve got to give full credit to Portugal,” Morgan, a late replacement for Tommy Reffell, said. “I thought they were brilliant today. They brought that physicality and really tested us at a few times in that game. They were very good.”
“It wasn’t pretty but we got the job done in the end,” Wales head coach Warren Gatland said. “A few guys looked a bit rusty but we’ll take the ‘W’ [for win] and move on.”
“In fairness to Portugal they put us under pressure and they moved the ball. I was impressed with them.”
Portugal head coach Patrice Lagisquet wasn’t so pleased with his team’s performance: “There has been two mistakes and then they can score two tries,” he said. “We were too shy in the first half, we were not playing enough collectively. We’ve shown in the second half we can play better rugby but I’m a bit disappointed.
“What I really appreciate is the behaviour of the players – they were really committed, fighting a lot, I’m really proud of their attitude.” – WORLD RUGBY