Wales will face France in the quarter-final following a 35-13 victory over Uruguay in Kumamoto.
Warren Gatland’s side managed to fend off their spirited opponents as tries from Nicky Smith, Tomos Williams, Josh Adams and Gareth Dvaies helped them to a victory, topping Pool D in the process.
Despite making 13 changes from their hard-fought win over Fiji, Gatland’s side came through another tough test to make it four wins from four so far in the tournament and the first time they have won all their Pool matches since 1987.
Wales started the brighter of the two teams, pushing a resolute Uruguay defence further and further back in the opening exchanges.
After Aaron Wainwright and Aaron Shingler rightly had efforts chalked off, the warning signs were evident and following heavy Wales pressure, the South Americans were eventually breached.
Prop Smith forced his way through a pile of bodies to make the breakthrough with Leigh Halfpenny made no mistake with his kick to give the Welsh a 7-0 lead.
Rather than setting Wales up to kick on, the try instead galvanised Uruguay and after finding their way back into the match, they were awarded a penalty which Felipe Berchesi sent over to reduce the deficit.
The Welsh thought they extended the lead with Hallam Amos went over in fine fashion. However, a forward pass was spotted in the build-up and the try was disallowed.
On the stroke of half time, Berchesi scored another penalty and worryingly, Wales found themselves going into the break with just a single point advantage.
Knowing they were now at risk of an unlikely upset, Wales came out on the front foot again at the start of the second 40 and the early pressure told as Josh Adams picked up his fifth try of the tournament with Halfpenny converting once more.
Amos, who had been denied in the first half, then had a second try ruled out following another forward pass before going over.
As the match descended into a scrappy affair with handling errors piling up, Uruguay flanker Santiago Civetta was given a yellow card, before more indiscipline saw Wales handed a penalty try by referee Angus Gardner.
Undaunted, Uruguay found some momentum and knew they could take advantage of what was a far from vintage Wales display.
They were to be rewarded when German Kessler found a way through despite his side being a man down.
Berchesi converted and the South Americans might have believed they had a glimmer of hope to salvage something from the match.
But it wasn’t to be as Wales’ made the game safe through replacements Williams and Davies’ late converted tries, adding some sheen to a perhaps flattering scoreline.
Wales now move on to Oita where they take on Pool C runners-up France, knowing they will need a far better performance if they are to reach the final four.
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