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Dan Biggar Passed Fit But Wales Shuffle Back Row Cards To Try And Trump Fiji

Dan Biggar has been declared fit to face Fiji but Wales coach Warren Gatland has still opted for two changes for Wednesday’s World Cup clash in the Japanese city of Oita.

Biggar failed a head injury assessment (HIA) during the victory over Australia after leaving the field 29 minutes into the first half of Wales’s 29-25 win.

He suffered a blow while making a try-saving tackling on Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi, but has been monitored, assessed, and passed fit.

Both changes are in the back row, where Ross Moriarty and James Davies come in for Aaron Wainwright and Justin Tipuric, while Josh Navidi switches from number eight to blindside flanker.

Davies makes his World Cup debut and joins his older brother, outside-centre Jonathan, in the team.

Wainwright drops to the bench, where the only other change from the Australia selection has Rhys Carre come in for Nicky Smith as replacement loose-head.

It will be another record-breaking match for captain Alun Wyn Jones, who will overtake George Gregan to become the fourth most capped player of all time. He will also draw level with Gethin Jenkins on 18 World Cup appearances and extend his Wales cap record to 131.

A Wales win at Oita Stadium would guarantee progress to the quarter-finals, where they would face either England or France.

Gatland said: “We’re still thinking about the bigger picture in terms of hopefully later in the tournament.

“A couple of players get an opportunity. Ross Moriarty coming back is hungry and James Davies as well at seven.

James Davies. Pic: Getty Images.

“We’ve been really happy with Justin Tipuric’s form but it just gives us an opportunity to look at someone else. If for some reason he picks up some sort of injury, it shows us whether James can fit into that spot or someone like Josh Navidi can play at seven as well.

“They [Moriarty and Davies] are two guys who are very hungry for an opportunity and Rhys Carre comes on to the bench as well. We’re keeping everyone on their toes.”

Fiji coach John McKee has made one change to his starting XV.

Viliame Mata returns at No.8 in place of Peceli Yato, who recovered from a head injury he received in the opening match against Australia to anchor the scrum in the impressive 45-10 win over Georgia. Yato moves to the bench.

Ben Volavola retains his place at fly-half to face Wales for the second World Cup in a row. Volavola kicked eight points when the teams met in Cardiff in 2015 when Wales won 23-13.

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Wales assistant coach Stephen Jones will be underlining the message to his players not to lose focus against Fiji and he is well placed to know the consequences any lapses.

Jones played at fly-half in the infamous 38-34 defeat to Fiji at the 2007 World Cup in France, a result that cost former coach Gareth Jenkins his job.

“It highlighted what Fijian rugby is all about,” said Jones.

“Give them space and time and they move the ball well and have an offloading game and put you under pressure. They did that day and scored some wonderful tries.”

Fiji have been erratic so far in Japan. McKee’s line-up played brilliantly to lead at half-time before losing to Australia 39-21, before they were then shocked 30-27 by Uruguay in one of the tournament’s big upsets.

Facing criticism back home, the under-pressure Fijians trounced Georgia 45-10. Left winger Semi Radradra was mesmerizing, setting up tries with brilliant offloads and scoring two of his own.

Wales: L Williams; North, Jonathan Davies, Parkes, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; Wyn Jones, Owens, Francis, Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (C), Navidi, James Davies, Moriarty.

Replacements: Carre, Dee, Lewis, Shingler, Wainwright, T Williams, Patchell, Watkin.

Fiji: Murimurivalu; Tuisova, Nayacalevu, Botia, Radradra; Volavola, Lomani; Ma’afu, S Matavesi, Saulo, Cavubati, Nakarawa, Waqaniburotu (C), Kunatani, Mata

Replacements: Dolokoto, Mawi, Ravai, Ratuniyarawa, Yato, Matawalu, Vatubua, J Matavesi

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