On a day when nothing less than a bonus-point victory would do, Wales delivered. But that is only half the story. 

Little was expected of a Portugal side ranked 16th and competing in their first World Cup since 2007. 

But their fearless offloading, ferocious defence and ability to force the Welsh to grind for their five points earned a well-deserved ovation from fans of both allegiances at the Stade de Nice. 

And how the Welsh ground. It took Warren Gatland’s side until the final act of the game to score the all-important fourth try, earning an extra point that could yet prove crucial in the Pool C standings. 

It was Taulupe Faletau who stood up and delivered when it mattered most, as he has so often down the years, picking up from the back of the scrum to bulldoze over the line. 

But therein lies the problem for Gatland. 

READ MORE: Steyn desperate for Scotland recall after missing South Africa clash

The coach called the Portugal match “a chance for players to put their hands up” for selection in next weekend’s crunch clash with Australia, but instead he was left seeing the best from players he already knows he can rely on, and not enough from others. 

Faletau provided the grand finale, Louis Rees-Zammit kicked off the scoring with a superb solo try and flanker Jac Morgan was named man of the match despite only being called into the team at the last minute when Tommy Reffell picked up an injury. 

When Rees-Zammit chased his own kick to touch down early on, the scene was set for the expected trouncing. 

But Portugal quickly grew into the game and profited on a Jonny Williams yellow to reduce the deficit to four points off the tee with half-time approaching, until Dewi Lake barged over the line. 

It was punishment for Portuguese profligacy; Faletau was the hero with a try-saving tackle on impressive flanker Nicolas Martins in one of their threatening breaks that came to nothing. 

Martins, who also had a match-high 19 tackles, eventually got his try from a neat attacking line-out move in the second half, but only after Morgan had powered over the line. 

Faletau’s late score, which came after Vincent Pinto had been sin-binned, earned Wales a handsome margin of victory, but this was a night that will be remembered for Portuguese endeavour rather than Welsh staying power. 

With 12 of the 15 men who made a World Cup record 253 tackles in their brilliant but bruising Bordeaux win over Fiji last weekend getting some well-earned rest, Wales can now begin to think about their battle with the Wallabies in Lyon on Sunday.