Wales hopeful that Biggar and Davies could be fit for potential France tie
Key Wales backs appear to be on World Cup quarter-final course.
Wales are hopeful that fly-half Dan Biggar and centre Jonathan Davies will be fit for a likely World Cup quarter-final against France.
Neither player is involved in Sunday’s Pool D appointment with Uruguay, when victory for Wales would confirm they meet Les Bleus in nine days’ time.
Biggar is following return-to-play head injury assessment (HIA) protocols after going off against Fiji on Wednesday, while Davies has a knee issue.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “George North has a sore ankle that he took into that (Fiji) game, so he’s been rested, and we wanted to rest Liam Williams, and Jonathan Davies had a knock on the knee and then Dan Biggar as well.
“Dan is symptom-free. He is being closely monitored by the medical team. He was symptom-free the next day, which was great.
“The medics have spoken to a number of people, doing consultations. He (Biggar) said he feels really good in himself, and he has come through symptom-free.
“He is just going through the HIA protocols at the moment.
“Jonathan took a knock on the knee. He’s being monitored as well. The knee was pretty good the next day.
“It had a bit of swelling and he’s been icing it regularly. He gets a little bit more time, and hopefully that keeps improving over the next few days.
“It’s a bit of a juggling act with the four-day turnaround. The message to the players against Uruguay is that the door is not shut.
“There are opportunities for players to go out there and impress and stake a claim for a quarter-final spot.”
Justin Tipuric will captain Wales for the first time, leading a team showing 13 changes from the side that beat Fiji, with only wing Josh Adams and centre Hadleigh Parkes remaining.
Starting for the first time in this tournament will be players including wing Hallam Amos, centre Owen Watkin, scrum-half Aled Davies, lock Bradley Davies and a fit-again Adam Beard.
Ospreys second-row forward Beard returns to action a month after undergoing appendix surgery that delayed his arrival in Japan.
Gatland has opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the replacements’ bench, with scrum-halves Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams providing back division cover.
“We are confident that we have cover, with players being able to move around if we need to,” Gatland added.
“We’ve got to make sure we do a job early on against Uruguay. It’s challenging with such a short turnaround, but that’s what World Cups are all about.”
Wales’ game against Uruguay takes place in Kumamoto, but approaching Super Typhoon Hagibis has meant games between England and France and New Zealand and Italy being cancelled this weekend.
“We knew from the start that this was a possibility,” Gatland said. “If a typhoon came, then games could be called off and teams would share the points.
“It’s disappointing for the fans and some of the teams involved as well.
“You have to feel for Italy a little bit. Nobody considered them likely to beat the All Blacks, but we’ve seen in this World Cup with red cards, you never know what might happen in a game.
“You have to feel sorry for the players involved and the fans. But we were well aware of the potential hazards of typhoons coming in and what the consequences were.”