Gatland names strong Wales team for Fiji clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Flyhalf Dan Biggar was included in a strong Wales team to face Fiji as Warren Gatland’s side look to book their spot in the World Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The only two changes in the run-on side are in the back row with Ross Moriarty and James Davies coming in at No.8 and openside flank, with Josh Navidi switching to the blindside.
The backline is unchanged with Gareth Davies and Biggar, who failed a head injury assessment during the win against Australia on September 29, named as the halves.
The front five remain the same from Wales’ opening two victories against Georgia and Australia. The Six Nations champions will reach the quarterfinals if they beat Fiji in Oita.
Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis pack down in the front row with Jake Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones continuing their partnership in the second row.
Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies are paired in the midfield and Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams line up as the back three.
Fiji, with one win and two losses, have only an outside chance of making the quarterfinals and would need to pull off a sizeable win on Wednesday to stay in contention.
But coach John McKee said his Pacific islanders “carry some confidence” from their solid victory over Georgia.
“We see this final pool game as both a challenge and an opportunity, it is important to finish the pool stage on a high note,” McKee said, after making only one change to his run-on side with Viliame Mata replacing Peceli Yato at number eight.
“Wales have a very good defensive system and work rate so we know we will need to work hard to create scoring opportunities for ourselves.”
Wales are on track to win Pool D and set up a quarterfinal against the loser of next weekend’s clash between England and France.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 7, 2019
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Davies, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhs Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin.
Date: Wednesday, October 9
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture
Kick-off: 18.45 (09.45 GMT; 10.45 UK & Ireland time; 21.45 Fiji time)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)