Warren Gatland is happy for Wales to fly under the radar at the Rugby World Cup, even if they are strong favourites to see off France and reach the semi-finals.

Australia coach Michael Cheika labelled the reigning Six Nations champions as favourites ahead of the Wallabies' clash with Gatland's side in Pool D.

Wales edged out Australia 29-25 on their way to finishing top of the group with a perfect record, yet Gatland believes other teams still left standing in the tournament are getting "a lot more talk" in the media.

Still, they will be strongly fancied to see off France in an all-European quarter-final tie, having come from 16-0 down to beat them 24-19 in Paris in their opening Six Nations match.

"If you take out the World Cup warm-up games, we have won 18 competitive games in a row, we are Grand Slam champions and we know, as we go on in tournaments, we get stronger and more confident and more cohesive as a unit," Gatland said.

"We are building nicely, going under the radar. There is still a lot more talk about other teams and games and that suits us. We've had a great record against France - we've won seven of the last eight games.

"There was an edge to this week and the players have been incredibly professional in the way they've prepared.

"The message to the players is you've got two choices – we are either on the plane on Monday going home or we are here until the end of the tournament."

Maxime Medard acknowledged France must rise to the challenge on Sunday, or else Wales will dominate them at Oita Stadium.

"If we don't raise our level, the Welsh are going to ride all over us," the full-back told the media. "The Welsh have to be favourites. The team has been one of the best in the world for several years.

"You have to keep in mind that the difference between the big teams and the rest is that, in games where you're in trouble, where it turns into an arm wrestle, the big teams don't give in. Wales are a very big team."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wales – Josh Adams

Dan Biggar's availability is a boost to Wales, the fly-half fit to feature following a blow to the head against Fiji, but it is Josh Adams who seems most likely to grab the headlines.

Adams has scored five tries already and the Cardiff Blues wing will be eager to propel Wales into the last four.

France – Guilhem Guirado

Having been left out of France's past two matches following a reported bust-up with coach Jacques Brunel, hooker Guilhem Guirado will return to lead Les Bleus as captain.

If ever there was an opportunity to show his worth, then this will surely be it for the 33-year-old.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- France beat Wales 9-8 in the only previous World Cup meeting between the sides - the 2011 semi-final. Wales captain Sam Warburton was sent off after 18 minutes of the contest.

- Wales won all of their pool stage matches for the first time since 1987. This four-game winning streak is their joint longest at the World Cup and they have never won five in a row in the competition.

- Since the start of 2018, France have lost six Test matches in which they have been leading at half-time.

- Alun Wyn Jones is in line to play a record 19th World Cup match for Wales, surpassing Gethin Jenkins' tally of 18 appearances.

Captain Guilhem Guirado has been recalled to the starting XV for France's Rugby World Cup quarter-final with Wales, despite rumours of a bust-up with coach Jacques Brunel.

Hooker Guirado did not play in France's final two pool-stage games amid reports he had fallen out with Brunel, who it was claimed wanted to remove the captain from his position.

However, with Les Bleus players believed to have given their backing to Guirado, the skipper has been named in the line-up ahead of Camille Chat, who is back on the bench after starting against the United States and Tonga.

Brunel has also been boosted by scrum-half Antoine Dupont and wing Damian Penaud being declared fit.

Dupont had not started since France's opening World Cup match against Argentina due to a back problem, but will feature alongside Toulouse team-mate Romain Ntamack in the half-back pairing.

Penaud, who had complained of a stomach strain earlier in the week, will play on the right wing, with Yoann Huget preferred to Alivereti Raka on the other flank.

In total, 14 of the 15 players who started France's match against Argentina are retained, with Bernard Le Roux replacing Arthur Iturria in the only change from that team.

 

France team: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Wenceslas Lauret, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Cyril Baille, Emerick Setiano, Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Camille Lopez, Vincent Rattez.

Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies and George North have all overcome fitness concerns to take their place in Wales' team for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France on Sunday.

Warren Gatland has been able to name the same team that defeated Australia in the pool stage with three of his key backs returning.

Fly-half Biggar missed the Uruguay game having taken a blow to the head when colliding with team-mate Liam Williams in the win over Fiji.

Centre Davies and winger North had been battling knee and ankle injuries respectively.

However, all three will start in Oita as Gatland's side seek to avenge their 2011 World Cup semi-final loss to Les Bleus.

Wales have won seven of their past eight fixtures against France since that last-four loss at Eden Park eight years ago.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will move joint-third - level with Brian O'Driscoll - in the all-time international appearances list when he features in his 141st Test - nine of which have come with the British and Irish Lions.

 

Wales team: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tom Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

The Rugby World Cup enters the knockout phase this weekend, with Ireland looking to finally reach a semi-final and Japan bidding to cause another upset.

Joe Schmidt's team may have beaten two-time reigning champions New Zealand in two of their previous three meetings, but Ireland have a rotten record in World Cup quarter-finals.

Hosts Japan face South Africa – the team they stunned in the pool stage four years ago – in their first World Cup quarter-final, while Wales meet France and England take on an Australia side they have an excellent recent record against.

Here, we take a look at the Opta data for the four quarter-final clashes.

 

England v Australia

6 - England have dominated the Wallabies of late, winning each of their previous half a dozen meetings since Australian Eddie Jones was hired as head coach in 2015.

7 - No player won more turnovers than Maro Itoje's seven in the pool stage and the England forward only featured in two of his team's three matches.

29 - Jones' side averaged 29 kicks in play per game during the pool stage – the most of any team – while Australia, with 13, averaged the fewest.

New Zealand v Ireland

7 - Ireland are in their seventh World Cup quarter-final and have lost all of their previous six matches at this stage – the joint most last-eight losses, along with Scotland.

17 - The All Blacks have won a record 17 consecutive World Cup games coming into this encounter – a run that dates back to a quarter-final defeat to France in 2007.

29 - New Zealand have scored a try in each of their last 29 World Cup matches, last failing to do so in 2003.

Wales v France

8 - In the eight meetings between these two nations since Les Bleus beat Wales in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, Warren Gatland's team have won seven times. Only the All Blacks have beaten France more often in that span (10 times).

4 - Wales won all four of their pool-stage matches for the first time since 1987. They have never won five World Cup games in a row.

6 - Since the start of 2018, France have lost six Tests in which they have been leading at half-time – the most such defeats of any side in that time. One of those came against Wales when they were 16 points ahead at the interval.

Japan v South Africa

3 - Japan's 34-32 victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup was their first over a Tier One nation. Since then they have won two of their three games against such opponents, beating Ireland and Scotland in this tournament.

5 - Kotaro Matsushima is one of the leading try-scorers at this World Cup, along with Wales wing Josh Adams, having crossed five times.

47 - The Springboks won 47 out of 47 lineouts on their own throw in the pool stage, the only side in the tournament to maintain a 100 per cent success rate.

Warren Gatland is an "incredible person" and Wales will do all they can to ensure the Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with France is not his last match in charge, says assistant and skills specialist Neil Jenkins.

The popular New Zealander is to leave his role as head coach after the tournament in Japan following a hugely successful 12-year stint.

Gatland will hope to stay in Japan for a while longer yet, with Wales looking to better the semi-final and quarter-final appearances they achieved in 2011 and 2015 respectively.

Jenkins has paid tribute to Gatland's qualities not only as a coach but away from the training field as well.

"His record speaks for itself as in the results, the success, the togetherness of the team and the squad and the staff," Jenkins said.

"Gats is not just an incredible rugby coach, he is an incredible person as well. He brings so much to this environment, it's unbelievable, really.

"It would be incredibly sad to see him go, obviously. It would be nice if we could give ourselves another fortnight in Japan for him and for everyone involved.

"Gats is the same, no matter who we are playing, week to week. It is probably us he has to calm down and the rest of the coaches.

"He is an incredibly smart rugby man and knows the game inside out, and we will be prepared for Sunday.

"He's been here for 12 years, and whatever he does, everyone looks up to him and understands why he does it.

"He's a very smart operator, he does things for a reason and there is always a plan behind things."

Jenkins also spoke of the difficulty the coaching team have had in curbing the enthusiasm of fly-half Dan Biggar, who sustained separate injuries in pool-stage matches against Australia and Fiji.

Biggar is expected to face Les Bleus in Oita on Sunday and Jenkins says the number 10 is chomping at the bit for the last-eight clash.

"Curbing him is very difficult," Jenkins added. "He's a competitor, full-stop. He's a winner. He's a very physical rugby player, he gets stuck in.

"He's done everything that's been asked of him constantly and consistently and he's ready to go. He's desperate to play. He's world-class and he'll be ready to go again, there's no doubting that."

Luka Modric escaped significant injury in Croatia's 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Wales, with Real Madrid confirming he suffered bruising to his right quadriceps.

The midfielder had to be helped from the pitch by Croatia's medical staff with a minute of normal time remaining, having received a knock when he fouled Harry Wilson and earned a booking in Cardiff on Sunday.

He underwent tests after returning to his club, with the results announced on Tuesday.

"Following the tests carried out today on our player Luka Modric by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a contusion to his right quadriceps," a statement from Madrid read.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Zinedine Zidane's side resume their LaLiga campaign with a trip to Mallorca on Saturday.

Gareth Davies admitted Wales' players are desperate to ensure Warren Gatland's run as coach does not end with a Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to France on Sunday.

Gatland has already confirmed he will step down after the tournament in Japan, ending a successful 12-year stint at the helm, during which time he has won four Six Nations titles and led Wales to the World Cup semi-finals in 2011.

Les Bleus stand between Wales and another last-four contest, with scrum-half Davies revealing the team are keen to avoid giving Gatland a flat farewell with a loss to France.

"We all knew it was going to be Gats' last tournament in charge of us and we do speak about it every now and again," he told reporters at a news conference.

"Especially this week now, it could be our last game. Hopefully it won't be.

"Alun Wyn [Jones] is a great captain, he speaks really well, and I'm sure he'll mention the fact that it could be Gats' last game.

"As players, we'll bear that in the back of our minds. Hopefully that will give us a couple of extra percentage to come away with a good victory."

Wales were boosted by Dan Biggar (head), Jonathan Davies (knee) and George North (ankle) all training on Tuesday, the trio having missed the win over Uruguay.

They will go into the France game as favourites having won seven of the eight matches the two have played since 2011, when Les Bleus claimed a narrow 9-8 success in the World Cup semi-finals.

However, having fallen 16-0 behind before rallying to win 24-19 in their last encounter at this year's Six Nations, attack coach Stephen Jones is keen for Wales to avoid another sloppy start.

"It is important we learn the lessons from that match," he said.

"The positives are we stayed in the fight and got back and won that game.

"We've definitely taken some lessons on board from that first half. France have a great pool of players to choose from, they are great athletes, and very unpredictable. They enjoy the broken field.

"If we are loose and turn ball over easily then they will be in their element and very, very dangerous."

Ryan Giggs claimed Daniel James was being "streetwise" when a heavy collision left him briefly motionless during Wales' clash with Croatia in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Medical staff rushed to the Manchester United winger's aid after he was clattered by Domagoj Vida in the first half of Sunday's 1-1 draw in Cardiff.

James finished the match and later insisted he had not been knocked out, with tests showing no signs of concussion.

"He stayed down and was a bit streetwise," Wales boss Giggs said in his post-match news conference.

"He told the doctors, 'I'm not moving, I'm just sitting still.' Not to get anyone sent off but he was just using his nous.

"Like I said, at half-time he did all of the concussion tests and he was fine."

Speaking after the match to Sky Sports, James added: "There were a few tackles flying in, but you always expect it in these games.

"I'm fine. I think he just caught me in the head, but I didn't get knocked out fortunately." 

Gareth Bale's strike in first-half stoppage time earned Wales a point following Nikola Vlasic's ninth-minute opener.

The result left Giggs' men fourth in Group E and likely needing six points from their final two qualifiers to have any hope of reaching Euro 2020.

The Rugby World Cup is headed for the knockout rounds after a dramatic pool stage in which Scotland were the biggest casualties.

Eight teams remain from 20, with hosts Japan – who have four wins from four – progressing as winners of Pool A after defeating Gregor Townsend's men on Sunday.

Japan also stunned Ireland in the same group, but Joe Schmidt's side progressed into the quarters in second.

In Pool B, two-time defending champions New Zealand finished top, with an impressive South Africa side behind them. Italy were frustrated as the impact of Typhoon Hagibis ended their slim chances of progression.

Meanwhile, England topped Pool C with France in second place, with Wales and Australia completing the last-eight line-up.

Using Opta data, we look back at an enthralling tournament so far.

Pool A – Japan, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Russia

1 – Japan are into the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time in their history, becoming the first non-tier one side to do so since Fiji in 2007.

5 – Kirill Golosnitskiy's scored in the fifth minute of the opening match as Russia took the lead against Japan. It is the quickest ever try in a World Cup opener.

2 – Scotland have failed to make it out of the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup for just the second time, after also doing so in 2011.

90 – Rob Kearney crossed for a try after just 90 seconds against Russia, Ireland's fastest World Cup try and the fastest of the tournament so far.

48 – Japan's Yu Tamura has scored 48 points so far, more than any other player. All of his points have come with the boot – 10 penalties and nine conversions.

Pool B – New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia, Canada

4 – Canada had Josh Larsen sent off versus South Africa and have had four players dismissed in the history of the World Cup, more than any other side. There have been seven dismissals so far this tournament – four was the previous highest total in both 1995 and 1999.

17 – New Zealand have won their last 17 World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history.

21 – Against Canada, South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick in a World Cup match, crossing for his third try in the 21st minute.

142 – After featuring against South Africa, Italy captain Sergio Parisse surpassed Brian O'Driscoll (141) to become the outright second-most capped player in Test rugby history behind Richie McCaw, who played 148 times.

Pool C – England, France, Argentina, Tonga, USA

20 – Against Argentina, Romain Ntamack, aged 20 years and 143 days, became the youngest player to feature for France in a World Cup match.

88 – Agustin Creevy won his 88th cap for Argentina when he played against England, overtaking Felipe Contepomi as Los Puma's most capped player.

6 – George Ford has been involved in six tries for England, more than any other player, scoring two and providing a tournament-high four assists.

Pool D – Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Uruguay

62 – Fiji's Semi Radradra topped the charts for carries (62), metres (400) and defenders beaten (29) in the pool stage.

94 – James Slipper scored his first try for Australia in his 94th Test when the Wallabies faced Uruguay. No player from any nation has played more matches before scoring their first try.

130 – By playing in Wales' win over Australia, Alun Wyn Jones overtook Gethin Jenkins (129) as the most capped Welshman, going on to make his 131st appearance against Fiji.

35 – At the age of 35 years and 186 days, Adam Ashley-Cooper is the oldest Australia player to make a World Cup appearance. He subsequently became their oldest try scorer in World Cup history, and their oldest in any match since 1966.

100 – Warren Gatland's side have won 100 per cent of their matches so far. It is the first time Wales have won all of their pool games since 1987.

Zlatko Dalic played down initial concerns over Luka Modric's fitness after the Real Madrid midfielder was injured in Croatia's 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Wales.

Modric had to be helped off the field by Croatia's medical staff with a minute of normal time remaining, having taken a knock as he fouled Harry Wilson and earned a booking in Cardiff on Sunday.

However, head coach Dalic soon explained the issue and hoped Modric would be able to make a swift recovery, with key matches to come for both Croatia – still chasing Euro 2020 qualification – and LaLiga leaders Madrid.

"[Modric] got hit in the muscle, which is awkward and quite painful, so he had to go off," said Dalic, as reported by Gol.hr.

"He will certainly need a two to three-day break, but I hope he will be alright."

Croatia would have qualified for next year's European Championships by beating Wales away from home, yet Gareth Bale's strike late in the first half cancelled out Nikola Vlasic's opener.

Vlasic conceded he was a little surprised by Wales' lack of ambition after equalising, given they are fourth in Group E and progress is now no longer in their hands.

Only a half-chance for Daniel James saw either goalkeeper worked in the second period.

"I think [Wales] did well in defence," Vlasic said. "They were very compact - they knew what we were doing. They clearly analysed our match in Slovakia [a 4-0 Croatia win].

"We retreated a little after taking the lead because we knew this was an important match for them. They had to go forward, so we expected that they would open up more.

"But they closed everything pretty well. We didn't manage to create five or six chances after half-time as in the first half.

"They didn't want to play with us because they know we're a better team and this is a big point for them."

Ryan Giggs was optimistic Wales superstar Gareth Bale had only suffered from cramp as he hobbled out of a combative clash with Croatia on Sunday.

Bale scored Wales' equaliser in Cardiff as they drew 1-1 with Group E leaders Croatia in Euro 2020 qualifying, although the result leaves Giggs' men with plenty of work to do.

The Real Madrid winger was one of three Wales players who appeared to take a knock, with Dan James recovering from an early blow, Ethan Ampadu later substituted off, and Bale then limping badly after indicating a calf issue.

Giggs assured both James and Ampadu were fine, while he was hopeful on Bale's status.

"Gareth's just got a bit of cramp towards the end," he told Sky Sports. "He didn't want to come off, though.

"It was a fantastic performance from Gareth, it was just a shame that he did get that - it was about 10 minutes really at the end, so we were down one player really.

"But it looks like it's just cramp."

The James and Ampadu incidents were both rugged aerial challenges that earned yellow cards, while Luka Modric injured himself while hacking at Harry Wilson.

Giggs cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines but insisted his issue was with Croatia slowing Wales' attacks rather than with the strength of the tackles.

Asked if he was upset by Croatia's approach, the coach replied: "Yeah, a little bit. But they're smart players.

"It's not about looking for players to get booked - they're just stopping our flow, which they're good at. It's something we need to get better at.

"They're smart. Good players and smart, as well. It was more the stopping of the flow of us counter-attacking that I was complaining about really. It's a physical game and we've come through it well."

Wales must now win their remaining two matches - against Azerbaijan and Hungary - and hope Slovakia drop points, but Giggs is happy with the permutations.

"We're in it. After these two games [including a draw in Slovakia], I wanted to be in it," he said. "We've got two games which won't be easy against two tough teams.

"We'll look forward to those games - it's exciting. Get it down to that second game with Hungary here."

James added: "[Croatia] have shown what a great team they are, top of the group. They came here and I know we lost in the summer but it was about bouncing back from that. Today, we got a good result."

Real Madrid looked to be dealt a double blow on Sunday as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale both picked up injuries on international duty.

Croatia's Modric travelled to Wales hoping to secure their Euro 2020 qualification but was frustrated as Madrid team-mate Bale netted an equaliser in a 1-1 draw in Cardiff.

Neither side was able to force a winner, yet they each ended the match hindered by issues to their key men.

Modric was booked for wiping out Harry Wilson a minute from time but injured himself in the process and had to be helped from the pitch by Croatia's medical staff.

As Modric received treatment, Bale turned to the Wales physios as he appeared to indicate an issue with his calf.

While Modric was substituted, Bale played on through the eight minutes of stoppage time, clearly limping and remaining on the field merely to make up the numbers.

Wales saw their hopes of Euro 2020 qualification taken out of their own hands as they could only draw 1-1 at home to Group E leaders Croatia.

Fourth in the pool heading into a crunch clash in Cardiff following a slow start to the campaign, Ryan Giggs' men suffered another setback on Sunday as they trailed to Nikola Vlasic's early goal.

Gareth Bale struck shortly before half-time to lift Wales, yet they could not get the crucial second goal and were forced to settle for a point.

Wales now require a helping hand from opponents Croatia when they face Slovakia, with the World Cup finalists themselves still to secure a place at the finals after failing to win here.

Croatia took control from the outset and had to wait just nine minutes for the opener, with Josip Brekalo dancing in from the left and Bruno Petkovic teeing up Vlasic to shoot low past Wayne Hennessey via the left-hand post.

Only a stunning, stooping Hennessey save denied Ivan Perisic a quick second with a 12-yard header, although a stoppage for Dan James to receive treatment for an apparent head injury slowed the visitors' momentum.

Wales continued to toil until the vital equaliser arrived from a predictable source three minutes into the consequent added period, as Ben Davies picked out Bale to fire beyond Dominik Livakovic.

The home side improved following the restart but chances were at a premium, with only a shaky Livakovic fumble from James' drive offering the Welsh fans any real excitement in front of goal.

A combative match took its toll in the closing stages, too, as Luka Modric was substituted with an injury and Bale ended the contest hobbling badly.


What does it mean? Help required

The fates of these two sides are now intertwined, as Wales can only qualify if Croatia also do so by stopping Slovakia. Both teams would expect to win their remaining fixtures and advance, but Giggs' men have slipped up too many times already in this group for progression to be considered a given at this stage.

Davies desire turns contest

A draw was a relatively disappointing result for Wales, but they might have come away empty-handed had Davies not intervened. For while Bale got the leveller, it did not look like coming until the determined defender charged forward - injuring Mateo Kovacic in the challenge - and slid in his clinical colleague. Davies was effective at both ends throughout.

Rugged Croatia pay the price

Wales were unimpressed with some rough challenges from their opponents, as James and Ethan Ampadu were both hit hard - the latter had to be substituted. But the numerous flashpoints also cost Croatia, with centre-backs Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren each picking up bookings that will keep them out of their key meeting with Slovakia.

What's next?

Wales go to Azerbaijan and then host Hungary in a key qualifying double-header next month, while Croatia welcome Slovakia before a friendly against Georgia.

Wales coach Warren Gatland and captain Justin Tipuric bemoaned a host of wasteful moments before their side closed out an uneven 35-13 Rugby World Cup victory over Uruguay.

The Six Nations Grand Slam-winners booked a quarter-final showdown against France with four wins out of four in Pool D, but they were made to work by an industrious Uruguay side.

Following a tournament-opening win over Fiji, the South Americans were able to sniff an even bigger shock when they went in only 7-6 behind at the interval.

But Josh Adams' fifth try of the World Cup and efforts from Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies alongside a penalty try and Nicky Smith's first-half score amounted to a comfortable margin of victory in the end.

"I'm happy with four from four but not too happy with some of tonight," Gatland said.

"We were poor at times, not clinical, too many turnovers in that first half and probably blew about four or five chances.

"But the boys showed a little bit of character and in the second half we started being a bit more direct. We were probably trying to play a bit too much rugby

"They're a tough outfit, they're tenacious, make the tackles and they're a tidy little side.

"We probably didn't respect the ball enough, a lot of turnovers and then second half we were more direct and earned the right to play. We were a bit better."

In Tipuric's assessment, Wales were even more profligate.

"We know we've got to do a lot better than that but we came away with a bonus-point win," he said.

"Uruguay didn't stop from the beginning to the end. They're a tough bunch of boys. We know that we probably left five or six tries out there as well."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny landed four conversions and was named man of the match.

"We just got a bit loose at times, didn't keep hold of the ball. But once we kept the ball, we put them under pressure and eventually converted that pressure into points," Halfpenny said.

"At half-time the message was, 'Let's look after the ball, let's not panic'. We felt in control, we were just spilling the ball."

Josh Adams scored his fifth try of the Rugby World Cup as Wales beat Uruguay 35-13 at Kumamoto Stadium to set up a quarter-final against France.

Warren Gatland's side made hard work of sealing top spot in Pool D, but scored five tries to ensure they will face Les Bleus at Oita Stadium next Sunday, while Australia will meet England at the same venue 24 hours earlier.

Nicky Smith scored the only five-pointer of the first half and Adams become the outright leading try-scorer in the tournament after the break, with Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies also crossing after Wales were awarded a penalty try. 

Uruguay were magnificent in defence as they bowed out with a spirited performance, German Kessler scoring their only try and Felipe Berchesi notching eight points with the boot.

Hallam Amos had three tries ruled out, but Wales made it four wins out of four to finish three points clear of the Wallabies despite being a long way from their best, Halfpenny converting four times in a man-of-the-match display.

Wales were disjointed in the opening stages but were eventually rewarded for applying huge pressure when prop Smith breached a resolute Uruguay defence, powering over from close range after 16 minutes.

Berchesi reduced the deficit to four points with a fine strike from the tee after Halfpenny converted Smith's score, and Amos was denied Wales' second try due to a forward pass from Hadleigh Parkes.

Handling errors prevented the Six Nations champions from getting into a rhythm and a second Berchesi penalty made it 7-6 at the break.

The clinical in-form Adams gave Wales breathing space when he took an inviting pass from Rhys Patchell to finish in the corner, Halfpenny expertly nailing a difficult conversion.

Amos had another score disallowed, again for a forward pass from Parkes, but referee Angus Gardner awarded Wales a penalty try when Uruguay were unable to legally stop a driving maul after Santiago Civetta was sin-binned.

Kessler had a moment to remember when he dived over with a pick-and-go before Williams picked up a loose ball to grab the bonus-point try, with Halfpenny converting superbly.

Amos was frustrated again when he lost control as he went to touch down, but Davies raced away long after the clock had turned red to go under the posts and Halfpenny converted, leaving the scoreline looking harsh on Uruguay.

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