Wales coach Warren Gatland is billing Sunday’s World Cup match against minnows Uruguay as a trial for quarter-final spots after he named a vastly rearranged side following the battering it took to overpower Fiji.
Australia’s 27-8 bonus-point win over Georgia on Friday means Wales need only a draw against the South Americans to secure top spot in Pool D and a quarter-final against France.
In the unlikely event that Uruguay cause an upset in Kumamoto, far higher on the Richter scale than their shock win over Fiji, then Wales will finish second and play England in the quarter-finals leaving Australia to play France.
After the bruising Wales took in beating an enthusiastic Fiji 29-17 on Wednesday, Gatland has made 13 changes and put his entire 31-man squad on notice that his preferred run-on side for the play-offs is not yet settled.
“The message to the players against Uruguay is that the door is not shut,” the New Zealand-born coach said.
“There are opportunities for players to go out there and impress and stake a claim for a quarter-final spot.”
Injured fly-half Dan Biggar (head), centre Jonathan Davies (knee) and wing George North (ankle) were not considered but wing Josh Adams, who limped off with a leg knock after scoring three tries against Fiji, will start again as will midfield linkman Hadleigh Parkes.
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Wales vs Uruguay: Rugby World Cup kick-off time and prediction
Kick off time: Steady away with a 10:15 kick off on Sunday 13 October 2019. All the action is live on SuperSport 1.
For the RWC, we’ll be using a prediction algorithm from a New Zealand anorak.
Prediction: The algorithm favours Wales by some way – over 45 points, at least.
RWC 2019 live scores and result: Wales vs Uruguay
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Additional reporting by AFP/World Rugby.
The South African