Wales put one foot in World Cup quarters


A crushing bonus-point 81-7 win over Namibia left Wales in prime position to reach the World Cup quarter-finals as runners-up in Pool D on Monday. The Welsh ran in 12 tries to one against a Namibian side that did well to contain the half-time score to 22-0, but folded as the game went on and legs became weary after a four-day turnaround from an 87-0 mauling by the Springboks. The result left Wales level with Samoa on 10 points and facing a game against Fiji on Sunday. The Samoans play unbeaten pool leaders South Africa.
“Next week’s quite interesting because we’ll know (if they are potentially as good as qualified for the quarter-finals) before we play Fiji,” coach Warren Gatland said. “I know you could lose to Fiji by 60 points and miss out on points difference but we could be there if South Africa do beat Samoa without them getting a bonus point.” Turning to the game, Gatland said his team had come and done the job. “We knew we had to come and get a bonus point,” he said. “We started pretty well, 22-0 up after 15 minutes, but we got a little bit complacent and thought the job was done, thought it was going to be easy.
“Fairness to Namibia, they put us under some pressure,” he said in reference to the second half of the first period when the southern Africans kept them scoreless. “We were a lot more effective in the second-half. In this type of game you’ve got to be patient, it takes a bit of time, and it was pleasing the way we finished.” In a game of 25 lineouts and 18 scrums, Gatland highlighted the breakdown and turnovers as two aspects of the game he would examine for improvement.
“Rugby’s not perfect for 80 minutes,” the Kiwi said. “The guys coming off the bench made a really positive impact. We also managed some players like Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau. “At the end you’ve got to be pretty pleased with the performance and really pleased with the result. We scored 12 tries, and having made 11 changes I think we looked pretty slick.” Gatland added that certain performances, notably by centre Scott Williams, who bagged an impressive hat-trick on his full Wales debut, and scrum-half Lloyd Williams, whose speed at the base of the scrum and breakdown helped turn the screw on Namibia, had posed selection problems ahead of the Fiji game.

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