Wales emerge from ‘brutal’ Fiji test injury-free

‘We’e got the job done and we have won and we can look forward to the game next week’

Wales look to have emerged injury-free from what skills coach Neil Jenkins described as a "brutal Test match" against World Cup Pool A rivals Fiji.

Wales’ 23-13 victory took them top of their group, with a quarter-final place guaranteed if Australia beat England at Twickenham on Saturday.

And after seeing their World Cup campaign scarred by injury setbacks — head coach Warren Gatland has lost the services of original squad members Leigh Halfpenny, Scott Williams, Rhys Webb, Cory Allen and Hallam Amos — Jenkins reported no fresh concerns.

“We will be okay,” Jenkins told reporters at Wales’ squad base on Friday.

“We have got a nice turnaround, and the boys can look forward to this weekend and then look forward to a big Test match against Australia next weekend.

“There were a lot of boys cramping up last night, which is understandable, having played England at Twickenham, travelling home and then playing against an incredibly-tough Fiji side last night. We wouldn’t have expected anything else.

“It was a brutal Test match last night. We have got the job done and we have won and we can look forward to the game next week.

“Obviously, there are a lot of battered bodies. To play two Test matches to the standard we have played over the last few days is huge. It doesn’t bear thinking about what these boys have gone through.

“They trained Tuesday, had a team run on Wednesday and then played against a team who were fresh and eager to do well.

“I thought Fiji showed their intent from the first turnover when they tried to run from their own line. I think we knew what game they were going to play, and that they had a positive mindset.”

Despite the favourable scenario that Wales could face on Saturday, hooker Scott Baldwin, a try-scorer in the victory against Fiji, has set his sights on progressing as unbeaten group winners.

Whatever happens this weekend, Wales will top the pool if they defeat Australia in eight days’ time, which could also mean avoiding a last-eight appointment with two-time world champions South Africa.

“It does qualify us if Australia beat England, but we want to top the group and we want to beat Australia,” Baldwin said.

“We are going out next week to get the win, first and foremost.

“Last weekend’s result against England (Wales won 28-25) was a massive bonus for us. It showed the tightness of our squad, and the Fiji win backs that up.”

The Wales players will now enjoy a couple of days off before heading to London on Sunday, and Gatland insists he will remain a neutral spectator when England and Australia clash.

“It’s hard not to be entirely selfish on Saturday because Australia can do us a big favour,” New Zealander Gatland said.

“We would make the quarter-finals, and it’s hard not to think that way.

“But it’s a bit hard for a Kiwi to be jumping up and cheering for the Aussies! So I think I will be quite neutral this weekend.”

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