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Wales set to have Davies and Biggar back in their side for France quarter-final

Warren Gatland has reported good news.

Wales hope to have some key players such as Jonathan Davies and Dan Biggar back (PA)
Wales hope to have some key players such as Jonathan Davies and Dan Biggar back (PA)

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Kumamoto

Wales are on course to have a fully-fit squad – including Jonathan Davies and Dan Biggar – for next Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final against France.

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Centre Davies has been recovering from a knee injury, while fly-half Dan Biggar followed head injury assessment return-to-play protocols after going off during the victory over Fiji four days ago.

Neither player was considered for Wales’ fourth successive Pool D win – a 35-13 verdict against Uruguay in Kumamoto – but they are recovering well, along with George North, who has had an ankle knock.

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Wales finished with a fourth group win (Adam Davy/PA)

“Jonathan Davies had a scan and it came back clear, which is really positive for us,” Wales head coach Warren Gatland said. “Initially, we were a bit worried.

“Dan is going through his protocols, and he had a scan as well. We’ve spoken to consultants from World Rugby about him, and he’s spoken to the consultant as well.

“They are pleased with the progress he’s making, so hopefully he will be fine. George had a slight ankle injury, but he is going to be OK.

“We are in a good place and building some momentum nicely. Talking to the medics, they are hopeful that in a couple of days we will be able to get everyone fit and available for selection – the whole 31 (squad) training.

“That will be the first time we’ve had that out here, which is really good, and now it’s about creating momentum.”

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Warren Gatland has had positive news (Adam Davy/PA)

A Wales team showing 13 changes from the side that accounted for Fiji posted a bonus point win to guarantee their best World Cup pool stage performance – four successive victories – since 1987.

Nicky Smith, Josh Adams, Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies scored tries, while there was also a penalty try and Leigh Halfpenny kicked four conversions.

But all attention is now on France in Oita next Sunday, with Gatland revealing some powerful words from captain Alun Wyn Jones to the players, post-Uruguay.

Gatland added: “Alun Wyn probably said it best – there are 240 minutes left to do something special. For us, that’s something to really focus on.

“We’ve got a good record against France, but they are traditionally a tournament team. In World Cups, when everyone writes them off, they seem to produce performances nobody expects.

“We know how hard next week is going to be against France. They have some quality individuals, and they seem to thrive in the quarter-final and semi-final stage.

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Alun Wyn Jones gave a rousing talk (David Davies/PA)

“We are pleased with what we’ve achieved in the last couple of years. There is a lot of confidence in the team, and we have that belief against any side.

“It is about making the most of our opportunities. You need a bit of luck, too, the bounce of the ball.

“There is a massive amount of motivation for this quarter-final. If we win the quarter-final, we are here for the rest of the tournament. I am pretty sure the guys don’t want to go home next Monday.

“It’s about taking our opportunities. From a coaching and playing perspective, these opportunities can change people’s lives. I know the players will give it everything.”

Uruguay captain Juan Gaminara, meanwhile, gave his take on some pushing between players as both teams went down the tunnel for half-time.

“It was just things of the game,” he said. “It’s rugby. When the pulse is very high, these things happen. Just some pushes, nothing else.”

And reflecting on a tournament when Uruguay beat Fiji, head coach Esteban Meneses added: “Our aim was to show our evolution, and I think we have achieved that.

“I am very proud of the players and staff. We showed our fighting spirit and the good DNA instilled within us, and that we were able to play at a world-class level.”

PA

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