Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales v Uruguay

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Warren Gatland says Rugby World Cup quarter-final places will be up for grabs when Wales face Uruguay in their final Pool D match on Sunday.

Gatland has made 13 changes for the encounter at Kumamoto Stadium, where the Six Nations champions should seal a victory that would ensure they finish top and face France in the last eight a week on Sunday.

Dan Biggar will not feature in a team captained by Justin Tipuric as the fly-half is undergoing the return-to-play head injury assessment, while Jonathan Davies (knee) and George North (ankle) will also play no part.

Gatland is optimistic the trio will be fit to return in the last eight, but with Josh Adam and Hadleigh Parkes the only players who faced Fiji to retain their spots, Gatland says opportunity knocks this weekend. 

The Wales head coach said: "Dan is symptom-free. He is being closely monitored by the medical team. He was symptom-free the next day, which was great.

"The medics have spoken to a number of people, doing consultations. He said he feels really good in himself, and he has come through symptom-free. He is just going through the HIA protocols at the moment.

"Jonathan took a knock on the knee. He's being monitored as well. The knee was pretty good the next day. It had a bit of swelling and he's been icing it regularly.

"He gets a little bit more time, and hopefully that keeps improving over the next few days.

"It's a bit of a juggling act with the four-day turnaround. The message to the players against Uruguay is that the door is not shut.

"There are opportunities for players to go out there and impress and stake a claim for a quarter-final spot."

Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses has changed his entire back row, while Juan Manuel Gaminara returns to captain the side and Agustin Ormaechea starts at scrum-half.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wales - Josh Adams

Adams scored a hat-trick in the 29-17 defeat of Fiji on Wednesday and Uruguay could find it difficult contain the wing, who also crossed in an emphatic victory over Georgia.

Uruguay - Juan Manuel Gaminara

Gaminara and Andres Vilaseca will make a Uruguay-record eighth World Cup appearance. Bottom side Uruguay will need flanker Gaminara to lead by example in the heat of battle with a strong Welsh pack.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be just the second meeting between Wales and Uruguay, their previous clash coming at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Wales winning 54-9 in Cardiff. 

- Wales have won all three of their games so far at this Rugby World Cup. Not since 1987 have they won all their matches in the pool stage of the tournament.

- Uruguay have lost all eight World Cup matches against tier one opposition, those defeats coming by an average margin of 54 points.

- Uruguay need two tries and 10 points to beat their previous best World Cup totals.