Josh Adams’ rapid rise from unwanted Welsh regional wing to global star could end with him being the leading tournament try-scorer in World Cup history.
Adams’ outstanding impact on Test rugby has left him on the verge of a World Cup record for as he prepares for the biggest week of his career.
The wing – who left Worcester Warriors in the summer to join Cardiff Blues – has already scored five tries in Japan. The best for Wales in a World Cup was by his fellow wing Shane Williams, with six in the 2007 tournament.
Three more tries would put him level with Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana and Julian Savea on the record figure of eight in one World Cup.
“It wouldn’t be bad to join that list, would it,” Adams said. “There are some legends there. You could argue it’s the biggest week of my career with playing in a World Cup quarter-final.
Adams made his Wales debut only 20 months ago but averages a try every two games across 18 appearances.
The 24-year-old showed superb finishing skills with a hat-trick against Fiji five days ago, which underlined why he is such an integral part of coach Warren Gatland’s plans.
“I was told Shane is the record holder for Wales at a World Cup,” Adams said. “Fingers crossed, with three more games to go, I can pip him. We will wait and see.
“I would never have said I would be standing here telling you that 18 months ago but I am over the moon to be here. Selection dependent, hopefully I can get out there on Sunday and do everybody proud.”
Adams has become a key figure and his try-scoring danger will pose a serious threat to France. But he is also well aware of the challenge their opponents can offer, even though Wales have won seven of the countries’ past eight meetings.
“France are renowned for being able to turn it on, and when they do, they are extremely dangerous,” he added. They’ve got some quality players. At times in this competition they have looked really good.”
The Wales captain, Alun Wyn Jones, has already told his players “there are 240 minutes left to do something special,” and those words struck a chord with Adams.
“When you say it like that it does put it into perspective a little bit, doesn’t it? But we’ve got a really tough 80 minutes on Sunday.
“There is no reason why this group of players can’t achieve something special. We’ve got belief in each other and in the squad, and I think we are all really excited moving forwards now.”
Adams helped Wales to the Grand Slam this year, scoring in successive games against Italy, England and Scotland, and now has nine tries from 18 appearances.
Wales beat France the last time the teams met in Paris in February when they trailed 16-0 at half-time on a rain-lashed night. A couple of French errors sparked a comeback and Wales triumphed 24-19 to take the first step towards a third Grand Slam under Gatland, who leaves his role at the end of the World Cup.