A review of Wales's big win in their RWC 2015 opener against Uruguay, at the Millennium Stadium.
Wales avoided a first-day upset, running in eight tries to beat Uruguay at a canter. Four first-half tries – three by Cory Allen – set the scene and after the break they added four more, including two for scrum-half Gareth Davies.
However, the major downside for Wales was a series of injuries, with hat-trick hero Allen looking like he might be ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring tear.
Immaculate place-kicking from Rhys Priestland added 14 points and while Uruguay started strongly and were 6-0 up after seven minutes, the inexperienced South Americans couldn’t deal with Wales’s power, pace and strength.
Super centre– Cory Allen had a field day, turning copious possession into a first-half hat-trick, but sadly his day ended on a sour note with his injury. The outside centre benefited from great work from his team-mates and cut through Uruguay with ease.
Pride of place – Uruguay did themselves proud in what for most of these players was the biggest day of their careers so far. They started strongly, took the lead and did not concede as many points as most people would have expected. “We are not caring about the result, winning or losing, we want to show what we are made of,” said their skipper Santiago Vilaseca.
Pack power – Wales’s forwards had a fine day, with Jake Ball and Justin Tipuric particularly outstanding. They dominated Uruguay at the set pieces, took the ball up well and defended strongly when they needed to as well.
Off the wall – Whoever dreamed up the idea of the sculpture of the giant rugby ball which appears to be embedded in the wall of Cardiff Castle deserves a medal. This brilliant and clever piece of work was the favourite spot for selfies before the game in Cardiff.
Casualty – The sight of Liam Williams limping off the pitch after 35 minutes was a sickening one for Wales fans. The full-back is only just back from injury, and he was hurt in a tackle early in the second quarter. He played on, but took another knock soon afterwards and the Wales management wisely decided to take him off.
The injury situation worsened in the second half with Cory Allen suffering a suspected hamstring tear, Dan Lydiate needing a head injury assessment and Samson Lee and Paul James both suffering tight calves.
Wallet drainers – It is disappointing that fans are being asked to pay £10 for a matchday progamme and £10 for a radio to listen to the referee (although those prices are, of course, the same at every World Cup match). And don’t get me started on the number of ticket touts swarming around Cardiff’s streets.
464 – the metres Wales made with the ball in hand, but Uruguay managed a respectable 256 as well
20 – Wales beat a score of defenders, while Uruguay managed to beat just five
11 – the number of tackles Justin Tipuric made, which was matched by Vilaseca and Matias Beer in the Uruguay team
0 – the number of Uruguay players in their matchday 23 with any previous World Cup experience
Wales: Liam Williams (M Morgan 35), A Cuthbert, C Allen (Lloyd Williams 54), S Williams, H Amos; R Priestland, G Davies; P James (A Jarvis 31), S Baldwin (K Owens 62), S Lee (T Francis 40), J Ball, L Charteris (D Day 46), S Warburton (capt, D Lydiate 58, J King 74), J Tipuric, J King (R Moriarty 46).
Tries (8): Lee, Allen 3, Amos, Davies 2, Tipuric. Cons: Priestland 7
Uruguay: G Mieres; S Gibernau, J Prada, A Vilaseca, R Silva; F Berchesi, A Ormaechea (A Duran 79); A Corral (M Sanguinetti 74), C Arboleya (G Kessler 77), M Sagario (O Duran 72), S Vilaseca (capt, A Alonso 74)), J Zerbino (F Lamanna 61), J Gaminara, M Beer (J de Freitas 58), A Nieto.
Pens: Berchesi 3
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Man of the Match: Cory Allen