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Rugby World Cup: Wales victory comes at cost for boss Warren Gatland

Wales 54-9 Uruguay

By Phil Blanche

Published 21/09/2015

Crocked: Wales’ centre Cory Allen leaves the field injured
Crocked: Wales’ centre Cory Allen leaves the field injured

Wales coach Warren Gatland faces making more changes to his World Cup squad after an opening victory over Uruguay which came at a heavy cost.

Wales completed a comfortable 54-9 victory over the South American minnows at the Millennium Stadium but the casualty list grew again only six days before their massive Pool A showdown with England.

Having lost star men Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to serious injuries on the eve of the World Cup, there was more pain for Wales with first-half hat-trick hero Cory Allen almost certainly ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a "significant" hamstring injury.

Another change in the front-row looks likely with Paul James and Samson Lee reporting tight calves and Aaron Jarvis damaging a rib, while Wales were left sweating on the fitness of full-back Liam Williams, who was forced off with a thigh injury.

On the plus side, skipper Sam Warburton will be fine to play at Twickenham after being withdrawn with a groin problem and Dan Lydiate passed an assessment following a knock to the head late in the game.

Gatland defended criticism of Wales' preparation with so many injuries beginning to undermine their World Cup challenge.

The New Zealander said the injuries were simply a case of bad luck and insisted Wales were still in good shape ahead of meeting tournament hosts England at Twickenham on Saturday.

"I don't think we look at the preparation because we know we're in good shape," Gatland said. "Sometimes you just get bad luck. You can't blame the preparation on Leigh and Rhys getting injured."

Gatland praised Uruguay for their combative approach as Wales fought back from an early 6-0 deficit to take command.

Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine said the South Americans, the only amateur team at this year's edition, could be proud of their achievements in Cardiff.

Belfast Telegraph

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