Rugby World Cup: Borthwick gets hands on in England training drill
Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit mocked Cristiano Ronaldo with a cheeky gesture after scoring against Portugal in their Rugby World Cup encounter. Warren Gatland’s side were the heavy favourites going into the match but were made to work hard by their unfancied opponents in the first half.
Wales managed to open the scoring after eight minutes through Rees-Zammit, who pulled off a grubber kick to beat his man before diving across the line. He went on to mock Portugal by copying Ronaldo’s iconic ‘Siu’ celebration before he was mobbed by his team-mates.
It was not immediately clear whether the gesture was intended as a show of appreciation for Ronaldo or as an inflammatory jibe. it certainly gave the match an additional edge, though, with Portugal responding well as the clock ticked down in the first half.
The underdogs only managed to get three points on the board via the boot of Samuel Marques in the first half, but they played some excellent stuff despite having only a puncher’s chance of victory. They were also impressive with the accuracy of their 50:22 kicks, which sent Wales packing deep into their own territory on several occasions.
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Former Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips was on punditry duties for Welsh language channel S4C and said: “You have to praise Portugal. They’ve got nothing to lose but their passing has been superb. Their wingers look dangerous and the whole team has made an impression on everyone here.”
Wales went on to take control of the match just before half-time through captain Dewi Lake, who crashed over with a quick tap-and-go after Portugal gave away a penalty for offside. It took the wind out of Portugal’s sails at a crucial point in the match, but they had already managed to win plenty of hearts with their dogged determination against much higher quality opponents.
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The result was placed beyond any doubt after the interval when a pick-and-go from Jac Morgan saw Wales extend their advantage by way of another try. Leigh Halfpenny was also on fine form with the boot, nailing the extras at every opportunity, before Taulupe Faletau crossed to secure a bonus-point victory in the dying seconds.
It was far from a vintage performance, though, with Wales making several mistakes in the second half to give away a number of silly penalties. They will certainly need to stamp out the errors before coming up against stronger opponents in order to stand the best chance of going deep into the tournament.
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