Wales coach Warren Gatland and captain Justin Tipuric bemoaned a host of wasteful moments before their side closed out an uneven 35-13 Rugby World Cup victory over Uruguay.
The Six Nations Grand Slam-winners booked a quarter-final showdown against France with four wins out of four in Pool D, but they were made to work by an industrious Uruguay side.
Following a tournament-opening win over Fiji, the South Americans were able to sniff an even bigger shock when they went in only 7-6 behind at the interval.
But Josh Adams’ fifth try of the World Cup and efforts from Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies alongside a penalty try and Nicky Smith’s first-half score amounted to a comfortable margin of victory in the end.
“I’m happy with four from four but not too happy with some of tonight,” Gatland said.
“We were poor at times, not clinical, too many turnovers in that first half and probably blew about four or five chances.
“But the boys showed a little bit of character and in the second half we started being a bit more direct. We were probably trying to play a bit too much rugby
“They’re a tough outfit, they’re tenacious, make the tackles and they’re a tidy little side.
“We probably didn’t respect the ball enough, a lot of turnovers and then second half we were more direct and earned the right to play. We were a bit better.”
In Tipuric’s assessment, Wales were even more profligate.
“Credit to Uruguay, they kept coming at us. They didn’t stop from the beginning to the end. Four wins from four, we’ve got to continue winning and we’ll be in a good place.”@WelshRugbyUnion Captain Justin Tipuric#RWC2019 #WALvURU #RWCKumamoto pic.twitter.com/Gpkrcn9KkH
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 13, 2019
“We know we’ve got to do a lot better than that but we came away with a bonus-point win,” he said.
“Uruguay didn’t stop from the beginning to the end. They’re a tough bunch of boys. We know that we probably left five or six tries out there as well.”
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny landed four conversions and was named man of the match.
“We just got a bit loose at times, didn’t keep hold of the ball. But once we kept the ball, we put them under pressure and eventually converted that pressure into points,” Halfpenny said.
“At half-time the message was, ‘Let’s look after the ball, let’s not panic’. We felt in control, we were just spilling the ball.”
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