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Day 23 at the Rugby World Cup: Wales made to work hard for Fiji win
Warren Gatland’s side secured their place in the last eight.
Wales booked their quarter-final spot with a bruising bonus-point victory against Fiji, while Scotland kept their hopes alive by thrashing Russia.
Warren Gatland’s Wales moved to the top of Pool D following a hard-fought 29-17 victory after Scotland had run in nine tries to ensure an all-or-nothing clash with hosts Japan in their final Pool A match.
Here, the PA news agency wraps up Wednesday’s action and looks ahead to Friday’s solitary fixture between Australia and Georgia, with no games scheduled for Thursday.
Wales run close by free-flowing Fiji
Wales breathed a huge sigh of relief after a tough work-out by free-running Fiji, but victory came at a price with fly-half Dan Biggar, centre Jonathan Davies and hat-trick hero Josh Adams all forced off through injury.
Wing Adams scored twice in the first half and again in the second when his acrobatic finish following Jonathan Davies’ brilliant break proved decisive.
Wales had been stunned by two early Fiji touch downs and the result hung in the balance until deep into the second half before Warren Gatland’s side extended their 100 per cent record.
A final fixture against bottom side Uruguay is next up for Wales, who will face England or France in the last eight.
Scotland alive and kicking
Scotland have set up a final-game showdown with tournament hosts Japan after their 61-0 demolition of Russia in Shizuoka.
Gregor Townsend’s side ran in nine tries – George Horne became the first Scottish scrum-half to score a hat-trick – and they can now qualify for the knockout stage if they beat Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.
Fly-half Adam Hastings, son of former Scotland skipper Gavin, also touched down twice and as long as the Scots do not allow Japan a losing bonus point on Sunday, victory will be enough to set up a likely date with New Zealand in Tokyo on October 19.
Bonus-point wins against Samoa and Russia have lifted the Scots to within four points of Pool A leaders Japan and one behind second-placed Ireland, who play Samoa in their final game in Fukuoka on Saturday.
Pumas pounce too late
Argentina ended a disappointing World Cup campaign on a high note by securing a 47-17 bonus-point win against the USA in Kumagaya.
The Pumas’ hopes of reaching the knockout stages were dashed by England on Saturday, but the South Americans confirmed their place at the 2023 World Cup in France by finishing third in Pool C.
Pumas coach Mario Ledesma paid tribute to hooker Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who played his last game for his country, while it is the first time since 2003 that Argentina have failed to reach the World Cup knockout stages.
The USA, who have also lost 45-7 to England and 33-9 to France, play winless Tonga in Higashiosaka on Sunday in a battle to avoid Pool C’s wooden spoon.
Wallabies target wayward discipline
Australia are expected to book their place in the quarter-finals – and a possible showdown with England – by beating Georgia on Friday in their final Pool D game in Fukuroi.
Coach Michael Cheika has made 10 changes following Saturday’s 45-10 defeat of Uruguay, with David Pocock set to skipper the side and fellow flanker Michael Hooper poised to make his 99th Test appearance off the bench.
Cheika has demanded a more disciplined display after Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto were both sin-binned for high tackles against Uruguay as the Wallabies conceded 12 penalties to their opponents’ five.
Georgia, 11th in the world rankings, beat Pool D minnows Uruguay 33-7, but that sole win has been sandwiched by defeats to Wales and Fiji.