Shane Williams dives over for the second of his two tries

NANTES, 9 September - Wales had to overcome some spirited Canadian opposition to post a 42-17 victory in their opening Pool B match at La Beaujoire on Sunday.

Canada scored two first-half tries to take a surprise 12-9 half-time lead, and picked up where they left off after the break, with a Morgan Williams try extending their lead to 17-9.

Wales were stung into action and after their own period of extended pressure were rewarded on 52 minutes when Sonny Parker went over. Stephen Jones added the conversion to reduce the margin to a solitary point.

The Welsh then grabbed the lead, somewhat fortuitously, when Alun-Wyn Jones gathered and crossed after a series of Canadian handling and kicking errors near the goal-line.

But the writing was on the wall and the gaps started to open as the Canadians visibly tired.

Shane Williams scored a brace of tries inside three minutes to ease Welsh anxieties, and when replacement Colin Charvis scored their fifth try on 68 minutes, their lead had blown out to the winning 25-point margin.

To their credit, Canada battled gamely right until the end, and might have been rewarded with a late try, but the Welsh defence stood firm.

In the first half, the more fancied Wales had the better of the early exchanges. Fly half James Hook missed his first penalty kick, hitting an upright on nine minutes, but made amends with his next three attempts to give Wales a 9-0 lead after Canada were called for infringements in the ruck.

But Canada came back strongly and Jamie Cudmore reduced the margin when he crossed on 25 minutes, though James Pritchard was unable to convert.

Craig Culpan then scored a length-of-the pitch try from an interception on 36 minutes and Pritchard kicked truly this time to give the Canucks their three-point interval lead.