Wales felt the full force of World Cup dark horses Fiji in a one-sided group match in Townsville.
At least John Kear’s men did not have to cope with the humidity of Port Moresby, where they were hammered 50-6 by Papua New Guinea, but they found the Bati in red-hot form as they ran in 14 tries to one in a 72-6 rout.
The victory enabled Mick Potter’s team to easily beat their previous World Cup record victory, a 52-6 win over South Africa at Keighley in 1995.
Eloni Vunakece gave Fiji a fifth-minute lead and Apisai Koroisau kicked the first of his four goals but Wales suddenly found themselves level when St Helens forward Morgan Knowles forced his way over from close range for a try that Courtney Davies converted.
However, that was as good as it got for the Welsh, who will have painful memories of their first-ever meeting with Fiji, who are looking good for a third successive semi-final.
Melbourne winger Suliasi Vunivalu scored a hat-trick of tries and, although former Australia international Jarryd Hayne managed just one, it was enough to take him in front of Bob Fulton and Billy Slater as the leading tryscorer in World Cup history with 14 touchdowns.
Taane Milne scored a try in each half and Fiji’s other touchdowns came from Henry Raiwalui, Viliame Kikau, Salesi Faingaa, Marcelo Montoya, Viliame Kikau, Joe Lovadua and Ben Nakubuwai.
Wales have conceded 122 points in their two group games and will be looking to restore their pride when they complete their campaign against Ireland, a match that will be played as a curtain-raiser to the England-France game in Perth next Sunday.
Papua New Guinea coach Michael Marum has ruled out wholesale changes next week as they aim to end Ireland’s quarter-final hopes by beating the United States.
PNG took a huge step towards a potential last-eight showdown with England by edging a spirited Ireland 14-6 in a scrappy game in Port Moresby.
The Kumuls will be overwhelming favourites to see off a United States side that have been beaten heavily in their opening two World Cup matches. But Marum has vowed to field his strongest available team next Sunday to make sure of a quarter-final place.
Michael McIlorum’s try capped a strong start by Ireland but PNG took control and went into the break 8-6 up courtesy of tries from Castleford-bound Garry Lo and Nene Macdonald. The Wolfhounds were still in the contest until Watson Boas’ breakaway try two minutes from time.
Italy ended a difficult week on a high with a 46-0 rout of the United States in their World Cup clash in Townsville.
A heavy defeat by Ireland in their opener was followed by a much-publicised dust-up between full-back James Tedesco and Huddersfield forward Shannon Wakeman which resulted in fines.
But both players were named in Cameron Ciraldo’s squad for Sunday’s match and they played their part in a thumping win.
Tedesco scored two of Italy’s eight tries, with Joey Tramontana helping himself to a double and Josh Mantellato, Ryan Ghietti, Paul Vaughan and Mason Cerruto also crossing.
The United States reached the quarter-finals four years ago but Brian McDermott’s side are already out after back-to-back heavy defeats.