Viliame Mata Rugby World Cup 2019 – Wales vs Fiji: Warren Gatland makes two changes as Dan Biggar cleared to play

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made just two changes to the side that will run out against Fiji on Wednesday.” data-reactid=”25″ type=”text”>Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made just two changes to the side that will run out against Fiji on Wednesday.

Having fielded the same starting XV for the clashes with Georgia and Australia, Gatland has opted to rejig the Welsh back row, with flanker James Davies and number eight Ross Moriarty both set to make their first starts of the Rugby World Cup.

Davies, an Olympic silver medallist with the Welsh sevens team, replaces Justin Tipuric, who has been rested after two storming performances in Japan.

Josh Navidi moves from number eight to blindside flanker to make way for Moriarty while Aaron Wainwright drops to the bench.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, who failed a head injury assessment during the Wallabies clash in Tokyo eight days ago, is fit to resume.

If Wales beat Fiji and then defeat Uruguay next Sunday, they will reach the last eight as unbeaten group winners for the first time in a World Cup campaign since 1987.

Among the replacements, Gatland has named Saracens prop Rhys Carre, who made his Test debut during Wales’ World Cup warm-up Tests.

And flanker Aaron Shingler will again provide second-row cover for Jake Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones, with Wainwright as the back-row substitute.

The Welsh will be wary of Wednesday’s opponents, having lost 34-38 to Fiji 12 years ago in a shock result that brought the side’s World Cup campaign to a premature end.

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Viliame Mata Victory over Australia shows Wales can go all the way in Japan

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Viliame Mata Victory over Australia shows Wales can go all the way in Japan

Although Wales remain in full control of Pool A, having so far beaten Georgia and Australia, assistant coach Stephen Jones has stressed to his players the importance of not losing focus against Fiji.

“It highlighted what Fijian rugby is all about,” said Jones, who was on the receiving end of that infamous defeat at the 2007 World Cup. “Give them space and time and they move the ball well and have an offloading game and put you under pressure. They did that day and scored some wonderful tries.”

Wales hooker Ken Owens added: “Fiji have got quality players with a lot of X-factor. The biggest message for us is stopping that threat and not getting drawn into playing the Fiji way.

“Our game plan is going to be about stopping their X-factor players on the gain line. We have got massive respect for Fiji, but we have got a lot of quality as well.”

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