October 7, 2019 / 5:12 AM / 12 days ago

Biggar is better for Wales ahead of Fiji clash

OITA, Japan (Reuters) - Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar has overcome a head injury and been named in the starting 15 for Wednesday’s Rugby World Cup clash with Fiji in a major boost for Warren Gatland’s side as they look to top Pool D.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool D - Australia v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 29, 2019 Wales' Dan Biggar celebrates scoring a drop goal REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

The 29-year-old suffered a head knock in their 29-25 victory over Australia and was replaced in the 29th minute by Rhys Patchell after failing a head injury assessment at Tokyo Stadium.

Gatland has retained a strong side for the Fiji challenge at Oita Stadium, with only two changes, both in the back row.

Five-test flanker James Davies comes in for openside Justin Tipuric to make his World Cup debut after missing the pool games against Georgia and the Wallabies.

Ross Moriarty has been promoted from the bench to start at number eight, with Josh Navidi shifting across to the blindside.

“Justin was disappointed, but he will probably start the game against Uruguay and bring some experience to that side,” Gatland said of Tipuric’s omission from the matchday squad after his strong game against Australia.

“He was tight in his quad before Australia. He was 100 percent fit for that game and he was 100 percent available for this game as well.

“We are trying to look at that bigger picture.”

Wales, who face Uruguay in their final pool match, will assure themselves a quarter-final place with victory over the ‘Flying Fijians’.

They will hope to avoid a repeat of the 2007 World Cup epic when they were upset 38-34 by Fiji in Nantes, the shock of the tournament.

A loss would be unlikely to upset their run to the quarter-finals in Japan but it could see them finish second in the group behind Australia and end up with a tougher run through the knockout rounds.

“It is important we focus 100 percent on Fiji, and then we have got a four-day turnaround to Uruguay, which is going to be challenging as well,” Gatland told reporters in the hot springs resort in Beppu, north of Oita.

“Get through that and then we can start thinking about what’s further on down the line.”

Team: 15-Liam Williams, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Hadleigh Parkes, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Gareth Davies, 8-Ross Moriarty, 7-James Davies, 6-Josh Navidi, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4-Jake Ball, 3-Tom Francis, 2-Ken Owens, 1-Wyn Jones.

Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Rhys Carre, 18-Dillon Lewis, 19-Aaron Shingler, 20-Aaron Wainwright, 21-Tomos Williams, 22-Rhys Patchell, 23-Owen Watkin.

Additional reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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