RWC 2019: James Davies tells Wales boss Warren Gatland he has "finally seen the light"

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James Davies reacted to his Rugby World Cup selection against Fiji by telling Wales boss Warren Gatland he had “finally seen the light”.

And Gatland admitted that he loved the Scarlets flanker’s response, having named him among two changes from the side that beat Australia eight days ago.

Davies replaces Justin Tipuric for a World Cup debut, while Ross Moriarty packs down at number eight and Josh Navidi switches to blindside flanker.

“When I congratulated James and said well done, his reply was, ‘You have finally seen the light, have you?’ He said he was only joking,” Gatland said.

“I loved that. I thought it was brilliant, a great response. I love a bit of banter like that and I have no problem with comments like that.

“It just says to me that players believe in their own ability and they want to be in the squad and they think they are good enough to be in the starting side.

“Justin was disappointed, but he will probably start the game against Uruguay and bring some experience to that side.

“He was tight in his quad (thigh muscle) before Australia. He was 100 per cent fit for that game and he was 100 per cent available for this game as well. We are trying to look at that bigger picture.”

Gatland has otherwise kept the starting line-up that accounted for Georgia and Australia in Wales’ first two World Cup games.

Davies will feature alongside his brother – centre Jonathan – as Wales target a third successive World Cup victory over Fiji following successes in 2011 and 2015.

And fly-half Dan Biggar, who failed a head injury assessment during the Wallabies clash in Tokyo eight days ago, is fit to resume.

If Wales beat Fiji and then defeat Uruguay next Sunday, they will reach the last-eight as unbeaten group winners for the first time in a World Cup campaign since 1987.

Gatland added: “When Fiji get some confidence and belief they are incredibly dangerous and they were really strong in that second half (against Georgia).

“They have got some real threats and we have just got to make sure we focus on ourselves.

“They are dangerous, so we’ve got to make sure we shut their space down and shut their time on their ball.

“One of the pleasing things of the first two games is how we well we’ve started.

“Our starts have been exceptional and it is important that we start well on Wednesday and hopefully take a little bit of that excitement away from Fiji.

“We are in control of our own destiny, we know that, and there are a lot of benefits about winning the group in terms of turnaround time and choices of hotels and stuff.

“Psychologically, you win the group and win your four games, you are up against a team that has lost a game. We haven’t spoken at all about potential quarter-final opponents.

“It is important we focus 100 per cent on Fiji, and then we have got a four-day turnaround to Uruguay, which is going to be challenging as well, and then get through that and then we can start thinking about what’s further on down the line.”

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RWC 2019: Billy Vunipola will discover severity of his ankle injury on Tuesday

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Billy Vunipola will discover the severity of his ankle injury on Tuesday as England sweat over his availability for the climax to their Rugby World Cup group campaign against France.

Vunipola failed to appear for the second-half of the 39-10 victory over Argentina on Saturday that guaranteed their presence in the quarter-finals with the Pool C finale at International Stadium Yokohama still to play.

The marauding Saracens number eight is the only player to have started all 12 of England’s games this year and the overwhelming priority will be to ensure he is fit for the last eight.

“Billy has had a scan and we will have a clearer picture tomorrow (Tuesday),” scrum coach Neal Hatley said.

“He is being assessed, that will go on throughout the day and then we’ll see how he pulls up. He has another 24 hours and then we’ll make a firm diagnosis.”

If Vunipola fails to pull through then Tom Curry or Mark Wilson will deputise in the back row, but his absence will still have a significant impact on England’s ball carrying.

Mako Vunipola made his comeback from a hamstring injury against Argentina and would fill the void, but Hatley insists there are other options in the Red Rose ranks.

“We plan for all eventualities and with what we have got in Ellis Genge, Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and Kyle Sinckler, there are people to pick up the slack when Mako and Billy don’t play,” Hatley said.

“We have played a lot of rugby without them. Billy is an important figure for us, but other people pick up the slack.”

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RWC 2019: James Davies and Ross Moriarty only two changes as Wales tackle Fiji

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Ross Moriarty, celebrating after the final whistle against Australia, starts against Fiji.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made two changes to the starting line-up for Wednesday’s Rugby World Cup clash against Fiji in Oita.

Flanker James Davies and number eight Ross Moriarty both make their first starts of the tournament as Wales target a victory that would confirm a quarter-final place.

Davies replaces Justin Tipuric, while Josh Navidi moves from number eight to blindside flanker instead of Aaron Wainwright, with Moriarty featuring following two powerful performances off the bench.

Gatland has otherwise kept the side the same as that which accounted for Georgia and Australia in Wales’ first two World Cup games.

Davies, meanwhile, will line up alongside his brother – centre Jonathan – as Wales target a third successive World Cup victory over Fiji.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, who failed a head injury assessment during the Wallabies clash in Tokyo eight days ago, is fit to resume.

If Wales beat Fiji and then defeat Uruguay next Sunday, they will reach the last-eight as unbeaten group winners for the first time in a World Cup campaign since 1987.

Among the replacements, Gatland has named Saracens prop Rhys Carre, who made his Test debut during Wales’ World Cup warm-up Tests.

And flanker Aaron Shingler will again provide second-row cover for Jake Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones, with Wainwright as the back-row substitute.

Wales team to play Fiji in World Cup Pool D in Oita on Wednesday.

L Williams (Saracens); G North (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), H Parkes (Scarlets), J Adams (Cardiff Blues); D Biggar (Northampton), G Davies (Scarlets); W Jones (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), J Ball (Scarlets), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), J Navidi (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), R Moriarty (Dragons).

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), R Carre (Saracens), D Lewis (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), A Wainwright (Dragons), T Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Patchell (Scarlets), O Watkin (Ospreys).

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