Rugby: Wales survive bruising battle

OITA • Wales coach Warren Gatland was proud of his players for showing "real character" yesterday, as winger Josh Adams scored a hat-trick in a 29-17 bonus-point win over Fiji to book their spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

In an end-to-end encounter in Oita, Fiji scored two tries in the first eight minutes, but the Six Nations champions pegged them back and a Liam Williams try with 12 minutes left sealed the win.

The result puts the Welshmen top of Pool D after three games, three points ahead of Australia (11) who also progressed to the last eight. Third-placed Fiji ended their campaign on seven points.

Gatland said: "It was tough. They've got some unbelievable individuals and we just had to stay in it.

"From 10-0 down we showed some real character to get back into that. We felt a few of their tight forwards were starting to feel the pace before half-time. The message was to keep working them and take the opportunities that came.

"I'm pleased with our performance. Hopefully, it'll set us up nicely going forward."

However, he was left counting the cost of victory, with talismanic fly-half Dan Biggar knocked out in an aerial clash with Williams. Adams and Jonathan Davies also suffered injuries.

Although the final scoreline was probably closer than Wales would have liked, they did outscore Fiji four tries to three.

They will face Uruguay on Sunday with the aim of topping the pool ahead of a last-eight meeting against either England or France.

Fiji ended the tournament with only one win, over Georgia, and if they are to finish third in the pool to qualify for the next World Cup, they will need both Wales and Australia to win their final matches.

In Kumagaya, already-eliminated Argentina ran in seven tries in their 47-17 hammering of the United States in Pool C.

In Shizuoka, Adam Hastings, son of Scotland great Gavin, starred with 26 points, including two tries, to help his country beat Russia 61-0. The bonus-point victory sets up a Pool A showdown with hosts Japan for a place in the last eight.

But Sunday's match in Yokohama will depend on the weather.

Organisers are considering changing venues or times for this weekend's matches to avoid Typhoon Hagibis that is bearing down on Japan, reported NHK.

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