Rugby World Cup: 'Gutsy' Wales can deal with injuries - Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo
Nemani Nadolo, a Fijian superstar, plays in New Zealand for Crusaders

Fiji wing Nemani Nadolo was impressed by Wales' World Cup win over England on Saturday and does not think Warren Gatland's side will be overly affected by injuries going into Thursday's game against the Pacific nation.

Wales won 28-25 at Twickenham, despite backs Scott Williams and Hallam Amos suffering long-term injuries.

Gatland's side are also without the injured Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Davies and Cory Allen.

"It was a gutsy effort," said Nadolo.

"They played really well and held in there - at one point they were dropping like flies with injuries."

Are Wales there for the taking?

The Welsh backline has been hit hard by injuries, so much so that Gatland's squad is down to just two specialist centres in Jamie Roberts and Tyler Morgan.

Meanwhile, full-back Liam Williams is unlikely to face Fiji in Cardiff after suffering a head injury against England.

But the 6ft 4in and 19st 9lb Nadolo says Wales have the quality to cope.

"Whoever plays in that 23 next Thursday for them will be up for the job," he said.

"Warren Gatland will be doing everything he can to get them fit.

"Wales at home is never easy."

Wales full-back Liam Williams receives treatment at Twickenham
Wales full-back Liam Williams receives treatment at Twickenham

Fiji, winless after defeats to England and Australia, are now unlikely to be able to reach the quarter-finals.

And coach John McKee knows the size of the task facing his side.

"Wales are certainly not there for the taking," said the New Zealand-born coach.

"We know we are up against a very good side against Wales. They have had injuries but they have got strength in depth.

"The players that have come in have really made their mark... the key players for Wales are there."

Little and large

Wales were forced to put scrum-half Lloyd Williams on the wing against England after Amos' shoulder injury.

It could be a case of David and Goliath if the 6ft 0in and 13st 9lb Williams comes up against the imposing figure of Nadolo on Thursday.

But the Fijian was impressed by Williams' performance against England, with the Cardiff Blues player setting up Gareth Davies' try with a brilliant cross-field kick.

"He played really well when he came on. Full credit to him, he has got a bit of speed," he said.

"But I am sure that will not happen this week, I am sure he will be playing at nine if he gets the opportunity."

Lloyd Williams' cross-kick set up Gareth Davies' crucial try against England
Lloyd Williams' cross-kick set up Gareth Davies' crucial try against England

Williams may be comparatively small, but the likes of Jamie Roberts, George North and Alex Cuthbert provide significant bulk to the Welsh backline and a real physical challenge - even to Nadolo.

"I was fortunate enough last year to play against them in Cardiff and to get a feel of what they are like," said Nadolo.

"Ball in hand they are big guys, they are always hard to stop.

"We have just got to cut away their space. It will be a good challenge for us."

Wallaby winners?

Australia thrashed Uruguay 65-3 on Sunday to march to the top of Pool A and Nadolo is tipping Michael Cheika's side to progress from the group and to go far in the tournament.

"The Wallabies are doing really well... They will be up there somewhere," said the Crusaders player.

"The Wallabies are still finding combinations... Michael Cheika has got a lot of stuff up his sleeve during this World Cup.

"Australia sound like good hopefuls - you know, besides us!"