Wales will face France in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup after a battling bonus-point 35-13 Pool D win over Uruguay. Coach Warren Gatland made wholesale changes – 13 in all – from the side which featured in the bruising 29-17 win against Fiji just four days ago.
Despite the shadow team on display, Wales were still expected to ease past Uruguay at Kumamoto Stadium. However, prop Nicky Smith’s try was the difference between the sides in a sloppy first-half display which Wales edged 7-6.
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Josh Adams grabbed his fifth try in the tournament before a penalty try extended the advantage, only for German Kessler to haul Los Teros back into the contest. But the bonus-point win was sealed when replacements Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies both crossed as Wales go into the last-eight with a 100 per cent record as Pool D winners ahead of Australia.
Afterwards Gatland: “Happy with four from four but not too happy with some of tonight – poor at times and too many turnovers. “We blew four or five chances but showed a bit of character. They’re a tough outfit, tenacious and make tackles, they’re a tidy little side.
“We probably didn’t respect the ball enough, second half we were more direct and earned the right to play. “Hopefully everyone will be fit and available for next week. France next week, old rivals, something to really look forward to.” Wales and France will meet next Sunday, while Australia will go up against Pool C winners England at the Oita Bank Dome in the last eight on Saturday.