Francis helps Wales book last eight spot
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs prop Tomas Francis played his part as Wales booked themselves a place in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup with a 29-17 victory over Fiji in Oita.
A Josh Adams hat-trick helped Warren Gatland's side to claim a bonus-point win over a sparkling Fiji side whose World Cup is now over.
Fiji’s third loss in four outings means that Wales and Australia are now qualified out of Pool D for the last eight stage, with Wales set to take top spot if they avoid defeat to Uruguay this weekend.
In an end-to-end encounter, Fiji scored two tries in the first eight minutes playing some trademark free-flowing rugby to set up powerful finishes for Josua Tuisova and Kini Murimurivalu.
Though Fiji overturned a 14-10 half-time deficit with a penalty try, the Grand Slam-winners pegged them back again through Adams and a Liam Williams try with 12 minutes left buried the Pacific nation’s chances.
The victory may have come at a high price for Wales with playmaker Dan Biggar apparently knocked out in an aerial clash with team-mate Williams, while Adams limped off with a knee injury.
"At 10-0 down we just had to stay in the game, but that was tough and we will take the bonus point win," said Gatland. "They have got some unbelievable individuals and we just had to stay in it.
"The message was to keep playing through the phases because when we do that, we create opportunities. At times we didn't do that enough today, but it was a tough, physical game of rugby.
"I'm pleased with the result and a few of the defensive sets, especially at the end, where we really stood up well. We will take a lot of heart from that, but we've got a tough, four-day turnaround before Uruguay and I know the medics will be working pretty hard over the next 24, 48 hours.
"A few of the guys will have to back up today's game, but we will being making a few changes for the Uruguay game. In fairness, they are a tidy outfit and they will test us, particularly with this short turnaround. There's going to be a fair bit of man management to do over this next 24 hours to see where the boys are at."