PAIN BARRIER: Cory Allen takes a heavy hit against Uruguay and is one of six injury doubts for England game
CARDIFF, 20 Sept - Despite further injury woes, Wales registered a bonus-point victory over Uruguay in their opening Pool B game against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Sunday.
Cory Allen (torn hamstring), Samson Lee (calf), Liam Williams (thigh), Dan Lydiate (head), Aaron Jarvis (ribs) and Paul James (calf) were all forced off during the game as Wales scored eight tries in a 54-9 victory.
It was a bitter-sweet success for coach Warren Gatland, who faces the possibility of replacing two of his squad in the build-up to Saturday's game against England at Twickenham.
"Looking back at the last couple of Six Nations, we have come through as one of the teams not to have suffered too many injuries and knocks," Gatland said. "Our medical staff have always done a fantastic job.
"Sometimes it happens that you go through a period when you pick up a few injuries and we are going through that at the moment. You just have to deal with it. We will deal with that and look forward to next weekend."
After a rousing rendition of both anthems, Wales fell behind to a couple of early penalties from outside half Felipe Berchesi.
The game was a dozen minutes old before Wales launched their first attack of note.
Thankfully for the near full house at the Millennium Stadium, a concerted drive from a close-in lineout gave prop Samson Lee the chance to celebrate his return from an Achilles tendon injury with a try that Rhys Priestland converted.
Although it was far from smooth and ball was turned over at an alarming rate, Wales scored three further tries before half-time, all of them from Allen.
First, the Cardiff Blues centre nipped in at the posts after a precise chip through from Priestland. Then, after Berchesi had cut the arrears with a third penalty, Allen added his second, once again at the posts.
Having seen James and Williams limp off, Allen added his third try on the stroke of half-time, having popped up on the shoulder of left wing Hallam Amos.
If the first half had been frustrating for Wales, at times, the second began in precisely the same fashion. Not even a stirring version of Bread of Heaven could inspire a team whose execution left a great deal to be desired.
Finally, after Justin Tipuric had spilt possession as he reached for the line, Wales' fifth try arrived. Scrum-half Gareth Davies made an incisive break from a scrum 30 metres out and duly fed Amos for a try that Priestland converted.
Davies made it a round half-dozen on the hour and, although Uruguay never once allowed their concentration to wander, they were powerless to prevent Tipuric from scoring his third try in his 34th international.
Gatland said: "The message at half-time was to take the Uruguayan legs by being strong at scrum and lineout. Our pick-and-go game was pretty strong, but they weren't an easy side to play against.
"They were strong on the ball and they kept possession well. But I was pleased with the way our forward pack operated.
"Jake Ball carried well and defended well and Justin Tipuric had another strong game for us. Then we had good impact off the bench as well."Wales head across the border tomorrow in preparation for Saturday's game against England. Gatland said: "I don't think either team will take too much from the games we have played. But I think we both know the importance of next Saturday.
"Next week is all about getting yourself mentally right for the confrontation. We saw what England did on Friday (in the win against Fiji) when the second half tightened up.
"They went back to their forward play and they drove every single lineout. It is going to be a contest fought up front.
"It will be a mental, physical battle and we have to prepare for that."