Wales Are Booked In . . . Quarter Finals of RWC, Here We Come!

Check the flights, or at least make sure you book another evening in front of the TV – Wales are into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

There is quite a gap between now and then – 19 days in fact – but Wales will be there in Marseille on October 14, probably facing a likely first knockout tie against Argentina.

It comes after a Wallaby walloping. Not any old Wallaby walloping, either.

Wales’ 40-6 World Cup victory over Australia was their biggest over the Wallabies since fixtures between the two countries began back in 1908.

For those old enough to remember the 38-3 World Cup drubbing against the Aussies in Cardiff back in 1991, or the 24-9 quarter-final defeat of 1999, or the 32-20 Pool match loss in 2007, or the 21-18 third-place play-off defeat in 2011, or the 15-6 reverse in 2015, this was a redemption even better than the 29-25 victory four years ago.

Wales made it three successive victories in Pool C, leaving Eddie Jones’ team close to group-stage elimination.

Warren Gatland’s men are guaranteed to top the group if they defeat Georgia in their final pool match, setting up that likely quarter-final clash against the Pumas in Marseille.

But Gatland said: “We haven’t looked past anything yet, it has been one game at a time.

“Australia came into this game feeling confident about winning. We felt confident to produce a performance today. I thought we were clinical.

“Our focus will be on Georgia, a team we lost against in the autumn (last year).

“We need to rectify that, and we need to make sure we don’t drop our standards. I think these players are well aware of that – they have worked incredibly hard.

It was Wales’ record win against Australia, overtaking a 25-point margin in 1975, and former England boss Eddie Jones will be left to face the music as the Wallabies lurch towards World Cup oblivion.

Gareth Anscombe, who landed six penalties, a drop-goal and conversion after going on for Dan Biggar in the 12th minute, said: “We talked a lot this week about family and the people we care about.

“We talk about the red wall, and to concede only six points against Australia is just remarkable.

“Dan Biggar means so much to this team, and I knew I had to just come on and do my role, and that was all I was focused on.

“The boys were really calm, and we got off to a really good start. Our boys up-front were outstanding, they dominated the set-piece, and I was just able to keep rolling forward.”

At the same Lyon venue at which Chris Coleman’s Wales football side had lost in the semi-finals of the 2016 Euros against Portugal, there were no tears this time for Welsh fans as they were able to enjoy a near picture perfect performance from start to finish.

On Biggar, Gatland added: “Dan has stretched his pec. I haven’t spoken to the medics, but I spoke to Dan, and they are saying it is probably a couple of weeks.

“We have got 13 days’ break before we take on Georgia, so that potentially rules him out of that match, just to recover. It’s not a significant injury, just a pec strain.”

Also, at the World Cup over the weekend, Ireland showed why they are many people’s favourites by beating holders South Africa, 13-8, in Pool B.

England thrashed Chile, 71-0, Georgia and Portugal drew 18-all in Wales’ pool, and Scotland kept their hopes of progress alive by hammering Tonga, 45-17.

In the Welsh Premiership Cup, there were wins for Aberavon (20-10) at home to Pontypool, Bridgend at home to RGC (35-13), Cardiff at home to Newport (38-15), Ebbw Vale at Neath (40-19) and Merthyr at Pontypridd (30-27).