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Cuthbert scores crucial try in Wales' victory over Tonga

16th June 2017

Alex Cuthbert scored a vital try as Wales secured a comfortable 6-24 victory over Tonga at Eden Park.

Seven Cardiff Blues players took to the field for the first match of the Pasifika Challenge double-header, which sees the All Blacks take on Samoa later in the evening.

The likes of Gareth Anscombe, Josh Navidi and Ellis Jenkins also impressed in Auckland, as young prop Dillon Lewis and utility forward Seb Davies made their debuts on the international stage.

Wales got off to a positive start, as Tonga were penalised for an early tackle on Gareth Anscombe, giving the visitors a promising attacking position within the first five minutes.

Wales patiently went through the phases, with Josh Navidi seeing plenty of early ball, leading to Kristian Dacey setting up Cuthbert in the corner. 

However, the TMO official judged that Cuthbert’s elbow hit the touchline simultaneously with the grounding of the ball, therefore no try given. 

A penalty advantage allowed Sam Davies to open the scoring from the boot and give his side a three point lead.

Within a matter of minutes, the TMO was called upon once again, as Cuthbert won the footrace to a kick behind Tongan defence, but the Cardiff Blues wing couldn’t get control of the ball as he attempted the touchdown.

A trademark Gareth Anscombe step and pass released Cuthbert down the right. 

The wing kicked ahead and showed impressive pace to gather the ball and touch down for a well-deserved try, with no need for the TMO this time around.

Davies and Tonga’s Tane Takulua exchanged penalties, meaning Wales headed in for half time with a five point lead.

The only change at the break saw Cuthbert replaced by former regional teammate, Cory Allen.

Another Takulua penalty in the early stages of the half narrowed the visitors’ lead, but Davies soon regained the five point advantage with three points of his own.

Wales dominated much of the second half territory and possession, but the stern, physical Tongan defence made it difficult for McBryde’s side to break through. 

Latiume Fosita was penalised for a neck roll on Josh Navidi, allowing Davies to slot another penalty to give his side some breathing space on the scoreboard.

Davies added his fourth penalty of the evening to extend his side’s lead.

Navidi and replacement Ellis Jenkins were prominent in the contact area during the second half, as Dillon Lewis came on to make his international debut.

A rampaging driving line-out by the visitors secured a penalty try in the final stages of the match, sealing the victory for Wales in the first game of their summer tour.