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'Not as bad as first feared': Wales issue positive injury updates

By PA
Warren Gatland/ PA

Wales say that fly-half talisman Dan Biggar is fit for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash against Argentina on Saturday.

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Biggar went off after just 12 minutes of Wales’ record 40-6 win against Australia during an unbeaten march through Pool C.

He suffered a pectoral muscle strain and was an unused replacement for the Georgia game last weekend, having been rushed on to the bench when Sam Costelow was summoned to start instead of an injured Gareth Anscombe.

When asked if Biggar was fit to face the Pumas in Marseille, Wales assistant coach Jonathan Thomas said: “Yes.”

There is also encouraging news about Anscombe and full-back Liam Williams.

Anscombe withdrew 45 minutes before kick-off against Georgia due to a groin problem, while Williams was on crutches after taking a blow to his knee.

Those issues came on top of number eight Taulupe Faletau breaking his arm and being ruled out of the tournament remainder.

Fixture
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Wales
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Argentina
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“At this stage, it is looking positive,” Thomas said, of Anscombe and Williams. “Every day it will evolve. It is probably not as bad as first feared.

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“The crutches thing was to try and offload any pressure. It doesn’t mean he (Williams) has done anything severe. He was jogging about today with the medics.

“I saw him (Anscombe) jogging around on the pitch, along with Liam today.

“The first 48 hours after you have a knock is very important in terms of assessing it. With both Liam and Gareth, it is pretty positive.

“That is not me committing to saying they are definitely going to be available. It is an ongoing thing. They were both running around today with the medics, and they will try to progress that each day.”

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland is due to name his starting line-up on Thursday, with Aaron Wainwright expected to move from blindside flanker as Faletau’s replacement.

That could then mean captain Jac Morgan wearing the number six shirt and Tommy Reffell starting at openside, although Dan Lydiate and Christ Tshiunza could also be back-row options.

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Last 5 Meetings

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2
Draws
1
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2
Average Points scored
20
21
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
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Thomas added: “There was definitely a little bit of a cloud over the victory (against Georgia) because of what happened to Taulupe.

“We have been together for a long time as a whole group, and you build relationships and you become a little bit like a family. When one of your brothers has to leave, it is tough.

“It is what it is. You have got to deal with it and you have got to move on. That is sport and the harsh reality of it.”

Wales face Argentina for the first time in a World Cup game since 1999, and they will start as favourites after collecting 19 points from a possible 20 in their group.

Argentina, in contrast, lost to 14-man England and were unconvincing against Samoa, before clinching qualification by beating Japan.

“For us as a collective, our goal from day one has been to get to knockout rugby,” Thomas said.

“We have achieved that, but we are not satisfied with just getting to the quarter-finals.

“When you get to this stage, any team on their day can beat anyone. There are quality teams and quality players in the last eight.

“I thought they (Argentina) looked more cohesive in their last game against Japan in terms of their attack.

“If you win your first game in the Six Nations, momentum is huge, and it is the same with the World Cup. Every team at this stage will feel confident and feel they have momentum on their side.”

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