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OITA, Japan (AP) — Unbeaten Wales is through to the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals after overcoming a serious fright from Fiji 29-17 in a drama-filled match under the dome in Oita on Wednesday.
The Six Nations champion was 10-0 down, and did not hit the front for good until winger Josh Adams’ hat-trick try an hour in.
Following the victory by four tries to three, Wales can top the Pool D from two-time champion Australia with a win against Uruguay on Sunday.
By then, Fiji will be back home, ruing having the Welsh on the ropes and not finishing them off.
“They have got some world-class athletes,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said. “I would have taken from 10-0 down to finish with a bonus point, it showed some great character.”
Gatland had paid Fiji respect by making only two cosmetic changes to the lineup which held off Australia, but he will overhaul it for the match against last-placed Uruguay in four days.
“We need to freshen our players, and hopefully we’re good enough to secure this group,” Gatland said. “The guys are a bit sore and battered.”
Fiji are relying on Australia to get a result against Georgia on Friday, so Fiji can finish third in the pool and earn automatic qualification for the 2023 tournament.
“We can go away with our heads held high after our performance today,” Fiji coach John McKee said. “It’s pleasing for me that we’ve finally ha
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