Wales beat Uruguay but suffer more injuries

Hat-trick hero Cory Allen makes a break for Wales

Wales opened their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 54-9 Pool A victory over
Uruguay but the result came at a cost as they suffered further injuries.

Wales midfielder Cory Allen scored a hat-trick of tries in the match but it
was overshadowed by injuries to Allen and full-back Liam Williams.

It all added to Wales’ problems in their back division after both goalkicking
full-back Leigh Halfpenny and scrum-half Rhys Webb were ruled out of the World
Cup before the tournament started.

Wales, the 2011 semi-finalists, next face tournament hosts England at Twickenham
on Saturday — a crunch match in the so-called ‘Pool of Death’ that also features
two-time champions Australia.

The result earned Wales a crucial bonus point in the battle with England and
Australia for top place in Pool A.

The Welsh scored four first-half tries, Samson Lee’s effort preceding Allen’s
hat-trick. Hallam Amos, Gareth Davies (2) and Justin Tipuric crossed in the
second period, Rhys Priestland hitting seven conversions.

Wales now move on to much tougher pool matches against England at Twickenham
on Saturday, followed by Fiji in Cardiff on October 1 and then Australia on
October 10, again at Twickenham.

Just the top two are guaranteed of automatic qualification for the quarter-finals
from the so-called ‘Pool of Death’.

Wales coach Warren Gatland rested key forwards Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau
and Gethin Jenkins, and a crucial trio of backs in Dan Biggar, Jamie Roberts
and George North, and in their absence the Welsh team struggled to click in
a scrappy display against a team with just four professionals.

Uruguay held firm for almost 15 minutes, indeed leading 6-0, before Wales set-piece
superiority started to show.

“They were going to be extremely passionate,” said Wales captain
Sam Warburton. “It was just weathering that storm in the first 10 minutes,
being accurate and being as patient as we could.

“I’m a little bit disappointed we didn’t look after the ball well enough
so there’s a lot we can improve on,” the flanker added.

But Warburton was confident Wales’ failure to run up a massive score would
not come back to haunt his side.

“The main thing was winning and getting a bonus point and we managed to
do that,” he said. “The most important thing in this group is picking
up your bonus points.

“It’s unlikely to come to a (match) points decision.”

Uruguay, whose previous tournament appearances saw them notch up wins over
Spain in 1999 and Georgia in 2003, got off to an ideal start with a second-minute
Felipe Berchesi penalty after Tipuric failed to stay on his feet at the first

Berchesi, one of the rare Uruguay players to play in Europe – for Caracassone
in France’s second division, failed with a 53-metre effort but was on target
minutes later after Jake Ball’s high tackle.

Priestland spurned two penalties from very kickable ranges to go for the corner,
and from the second driving line-out, Lee crashed over for the opening try.

Allen was the recipient of a delicate Priestland dink over the South Americans’
defence, the centre squirming past Rodrigo Silva to score.

Berchesi kept Uruguay in the game with a third penalty after another high Ball
tackle before Allen was played in for his second after Scott Williams broke
the line of a well-organised defence.

Worryingly for Wales, first prop Paul James went off and then full-back Liam
Williams, making his comeback from a long injury lay-off and seen as the natural
successor to the injured Leigh Halfpennny.

Allen got his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time, Tipuric and Amos combining
to hand the Cardiff Blues player the easiest of run-ins to guarantee Wales a
bonus point in what promises to be the tightest of pools.

With Wales completely dominant on set-piece, Gatland brought Tomas Francis
on for Lee, the tighthead having made a successful comeback from a ruptured
achilles tendon in March.

Tipuric was denied a try early in the second period after a good cover tackle
dislodged the ball as he crossed the line, but Amos was the beneficiary of a
break by scrum-half Davies, the winger extending the home side’s lead.

Allen then limped off injured as a visibly flagging Uruguay stuck gamely to
their task.

Davies darted over for two deserved tries of his own either side of a Tipuric
five-pointer after the flanker was driven over.

Final Score Wales 54 (28) Uruguay 9 (9)


Tries – Lee, Allen (3), Amos, Davies (2), Tipuric
Pen –
Con – Priestland (7)
Drop –

Tries –
Pen – Berchesi (3)
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Romain Poite (FRA)



Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Cory Allen, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos; Rhys
Priestland, Gareth Davies; James King, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (capt);
Jake Ball, Luke Charteris; Samson Lee, Scott Baldwin, Paul James

Replacements: Ken Owens, Aaron Jarvis, Tomas Francis, Dominic Day, Dan Lydiate,
Ross Moriarty, Lloyd Williams, Matthew Morgan


Gaston Meres; Santiago Gibernau, Joaquin Prada, Andres Vilaseca, Rodrigo Silva;
Felipe Berchesi, Agustin Ormaechea; Alejandro Nieto, Matias Beer, Juan Manuel
Gaminara; Jorge Zerbino, Santiago Vilaseca (capt); Mario Sagario, Carlos Arboleya,
Alejo Corral

Replacements: German Kessler, Oscar Duran, Mateo Sanguinetti, Franco Lamanna,
Agustin Alonso, Juan De Freitas, Alejo Duran, Francisco Bulanti

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