Rugby World Cup: Wales seals top spot with 35-13 win over Uruguay

Wales will face France in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals next weekend after scoring four second-half tries to take the top spot in Pool D.

Wales made hard work of sealing top spot in Pool D, while Australia will meet England at Oita Stadium next Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Josh Adams scored his fifth try of the Rugby World Cup 2019 as Wales beat Uruguay 35-13 at Kumamoto Stadium to set up a quarterfinal against France.

Warren Gatland's side made hard work of sealing top spot in Pool D, but scored five tries to ensure it 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 was awarded a penalty try. 

Uruguay was magnificent in defence as it bowed out with a spirited performance, German Kessler scoring its 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 was disjointed in the opening stages but was 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 champion 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 was 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.

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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.

- High five for clinical Adams -

Adams followed up his hat-trick against Fiji by moving out on his own at the top of the try-scoring charts.

The wing moved ahead of Argentina’s Julian Montoya and Japan’s Kotaro Matsushima onto five tries.

While Adams can seemingly do no wrong, it was definitely not Amos' day as he could have had a hat-trick but ultimately ended up without a single five-pointer.

- Uruguay goes down with a fight -

The margin of victory may suggest Uruguay was comfortably second best, but it signed off with a tenacious performance and trailed by only a point at half-time.

It made as many as 200 tackles, putting bodies on the line throughout. Juan Manuel Cat was among those to impress, not missing one of his 16 tackles and winning two turnovers.

Key Opta Facts

- Wales has won all four of its matches. Not since 1987 has it won all of its games in the pool stage of the tournament and on that occasion it played just three pool matches.

- Adams has scored eight Test tries in 2019, only three times before has a player scored more in a calendar year for Wales.

- Davies' try was his seventh in a World Cup match. Only Shane Williams (10) has more for Wales.

- Uruguay is one of just five sides not to lose a scrum on its own feed at this World Cup - winning all 35.

- What’s next? -

Wales is expected to welcome back Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies and George North when it does battle with Six Nations rival France, while Uruguay is on its way home.