KUMAMOTO, Japan (AFP) – Wales coach Warren Gatland has made 13 changes to the team that came through a bruising win against Fiji for their final Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Uruguay at Kumamoto tomorrow.
Only centre Hadleigh Parkes and winger Josh Adams, who scored a hat-trick of tries in the ferocious 29-17 victory over the Fijians, remain from that starting XV.
Rhys Patchell starts at fly-half, after Dan Biggar’s head injury against Fiji, with scrum-halves Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies on the bench as the only backline cover.
Wales have already secured a quarter-final spot, along with Australia, after previously beating Georgia (43-14) and the Wallabies (29-25).
Tomorrow’s match looks unlikely to be cancelled because of incoming Typhoon Hagibis because it is in Japan’s south-west, out of the projected path of the storm.
“We’ve got to make sure we do a job early on against Uruguay,” Gatland told reporters. “It’s challenging with such a short turnaround but that’s what World Cups are all about.
“The squad is in a good place mentally. There are a group of players that are excited.
“We’re expecting another tough game but also a good performance.”
Openside flanker Justin Tipuric will skipper the team against Uruguay, in a back row also featuring Aaron Shingler and Aaron Wainwright.
Ospreys duo Bradley Davies and Adam Beard will pack down in the second row, the latter making his first appearance in Japan after recovering from having his appendix out on the day he was meant to fly out.
Nicky Smith, Ryan Elias and Dillon Lewis are named in the front-row, while Aled Davies and Patchell will partner at half-back with Parkes and Owen Watkin comprising the midfield.