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Wales make heavy weather of it, but beat Uruguay to set up quarter-final clash with France

Warren Gatland’s men were on a four-day turnaround and struggled to put the South Americans away.

Leigh Halfpenny tries to make a break through against Uruguay.
Leigh Halfpenny tries to make a break through against Uruguay.
Image: Adam Davy

Wales 35

Uruguay 13 

GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS Wales will meet France in next weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final after a hard-fought bonus-point win over unfancied Uruguay.

Having already pulled off a massive World Cup shock by beating Fiji in this tournament, Uruguay made Wales wait and work to remove all doubt that they would win out in this contest.

Felipe Berchesi’s boot kept the South Americans with a point at half-time and German Kessler’s second-half try reeled Warren Gatland’s side back into an eight-point deficit with 10 minutes to go.

On a four day turnaround Wales won out though, Tomos Williams’ late snipe over the line sealed a bonus point and Gareth Davies capped the victory with a late breakaway.

When the final whistle blew Wales had enjoyed 66% possession and 73% territory, yet it took three tries in the last 15 minutes to give them a respectable scoreline.

For most of the match it was a sloppy display, although Wales at least completed pool play unbeaten for the first time since the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

wales-v-uruguay-pool-d-2019-rugby-world-cup-kumamoto-stadium Kumamoto Stadium this morning. Source: Adam Davy

 

Wales had dominated all the right statistics, forcing Uruguay to make 90 tackles while missing 19 more in the opening 40 minutes. But they seemed bereft of ideas and finesse, letting themselves down with a succession of knock-ons, and turned only 7-6 ahead. 

Wales coach Warren Gatland, who made 13 changes to the side that started against Fiji on Wednesday, could not have been impressed with the high error-count.

Wales camped inside the Uruguay 22 for most of the first 16 minutes before they were eventually rewarded with a try.

Bradley Davies had lost the ball close to the line early in the match and Aaron Shingler put a foot in touch as he dived for the line, before prop Nicky Smith broke the deadlock when he drove over from close range.

Wales were unable to score again in the half, blowing another scoring opportunity when Hadleigh Parkes and Hallam Amos combined in a 50-metre run only for the final pass to float forward. 

It was the first of three times Amos crossed the line and each time the try was ruled out — twice for forward passes, and one knock-on.

Uruguay, meanwhile, made the most of the scraps that went their way with Felipe Berchesi landing two penalties to keep the pressure on Wales. 

Josh Adams, Wales’ three-try hero against Fiji, opened the scoring in the second half to push Wales out to a 14-6 lead before their late scoring burst.

When Uruguay flanker Santiago Civetta was yellow-carded for repeated fouls, Wales used the one-man advantage to drive at the line which resulted in a penalty try.

Uruguay were not done and fought back to drive over for a try of their own to hooker German Kessler.

But Wales had too much energy at the end and Tomos Williams added a fourth try before Davies scampered 40 metres for Wales’s final five-pointer.

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AFP

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