Wales 35-13 Uruguay: Wales stutter to victory for Pool D clean-sweep
Warren Gatland's side will face France in the quarter-finals at Oita Stadium next Sunday
Last Updated: 13/10/19 5:37pm
Wales stuttered to a messy 35-13 victory against Uruguay in order to complete a clean-sweep of Pool D wins in Kumamoto.
It is the first time Wales have won all four of their pool matches since 1987 and they will now face France in the last eight of the competition.
A much-changed Welsh side struggled to find their fluidity and lacked discipline against Uruguay and held just a 7-6 lead after 40 minutes.
Nicky Smith's converted try provided their points, however, the boot of Felipe Berchesi kept Uruguay firmly in touch with two successful penalties.
Josh Adams crossed out wide after 49 minutes but handling errors continued to plague them. They took advantage of a late sin-bin to Santiago Civetta, though, adding a penalty try and two further tries from replacements Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies to put some gloss on the scoreline.
With just a four-day turnaround after their victory over Fiji, and a quarter-final place already secured, Warren Gatland made 13 changes to his starting line-up.
Those changes looked to be positive ones early on as Wales marched forwards in the opening minutes. Aaron Shingler crossed out wide, only to have the five-pointer chalked off as his foot strayed into touch.
From there, Wales struggled to further punch through Los Teros' defensive line and it took seven minutes inside the red zone for Smith to eventually cross from close range.
Leigh Halfpenny added the conversion but Uruguay's response arrived quickly after as Berchesi also found the mark off the tee.
Wales' early frustrations continued as the half progressed; Hallam Amos had a try disallowed after 25 minutes due Hadleigh Parkes' final pass flying forwards and their handling errors continued.
The score remained at 7-3 until Berchesi again stepped up for Uruguay and slotted a penalty that left them trailing by a point at the interval.
The second half commenced with Halfpenny hitting the post off a penalty attempt before Bradley Davies' strong carry helped to create Adams' fifth try of the World Cup.
Davies sucked in a wealth of defenders to leave the winger in mountains of space on the left and the young back finished the easiest of run-ins.
Halfpenny's second successful conversion produced an eight-point cushion before yet another try was chalked off.
This time Patchell's final pass to Amos denied the men in red.
Wales' frustrations remained until Civetta was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul after Uruguay's team discipline wavered.
The extra man provided Wales with the chance to put a little gloss on the encounter which they did so through the work of their forwards and two further tries.
Wales secured a bonus point when Williams darted over, with Halfpenny converting. Amos then dropped the ball as he dived to cross Uruguay's line, summing up Wales' performance.
Gareth Davies then added a fine solo try off the final play, catching the South Americans napping with a quick tap penalty on halfway.