Wales coach Warren Gatland admits that his side had to dig deep to beat Fiji 23-13 in their Rugby World Cup Pool A encounter, but that winning the game and putting themselves in a strong position to qualify for the quarter finals was the most important thing.

Wales made heavier work of it than they would have liked but prevailed 23-13 in an entertaining and sometimes breathless clash against Fiji on 1 October to move to the brink of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Despite a crippling casualty list and being drawn in the toughest pool in the history of the tournament, the Welsh will head to their final Pool A match against Australia next weekend with three wins out of three.

Gareth Davies
Davies went over inside the first 10 minutes to set Wales on their way Getty Images

After first-half tries from scrum half Gareth Davies and hooker Scott Baldwin, it looked like Wales would secure the four-try bonus that would have made their position even stronger and heaped more pressure on rivals England to beat Australia on Saturday.

A combination of Welsh fatigue and Fijian fitness, however, meant the home side failed to cross the line in the second half and were reliant on the faultless place-kicking of fly-half Dan Biggar to usher them to victory.

Fiji, who had impressed in their defeats by England and Australia, scored the best try of the game through centre Vereniki Goneva and dominated the scrum but were left ruing fly-half Ben Volavola's two misses from the kicking tee.

Warren Gatland
Gatland's Wales claimed a third straight win but their quarter-final place is far from secure. Getty Images

"It was a tough game, the guys are pretty tired. Obviously we had that short turnaround, we thought we played pretty well and dominated in the first half," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland afterwards.

"We didn't get a lot of success from putting the ball in the air. They were pretty dominant in that area. But as I said it was about winning the game and the courage that we displayed was the most important thing for me. You know we had to dig deep as we did last week and that just shows the character of this group of players at the moment," he added.

The win does not yet guarantee them a place in the last eight after they failed to clinch a crucial bonus point. England face Australia on 3 October, with a win for the Wallabies seeing Gatland's side progress to the quarter-finals, while victory for Stuart Lancaster's side will leave their place in the knock-out phase in doubt.