Taulupe Faletau ruled out of World Cup after breaking arm against Georgia

Taulupe Faletau ruled out of World Cup after breaking arm against Georgia

Number eight will play no further part in the tournament following injury. 

Wales were left to count the cost of their Rugby World Cup victory over Georgia after number eight Taulupe Faletau suffered a broken arm and two other players were also injured.

Faletau, who has won more than 100 caps, will take no further part in the tournament as Wales build towards a quarter-final against probably Argentina or Japan in Marseille next weekend.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said no decision had yet been made on a replacement for Faletau, although flanker Aaron Wainwright is an option to move across the back-row.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe, meanwhile, withdrew 45 minutes before kick-off in Nantes following a groin problem suffered during the warm-up.

And full-back Liam Williams was on crutches after Gatland said he took a blow to his knee, but Wales are hopeful he will be fit for the quarter-final, with Wales ending their Pool C campaign as group winners with four successive victories following a 43-19 triumph.

“Toby (Faletau) has broken his arm so he will be out,” Gatland said.

“We are just going to assess Gareth over the next 72 hours. He has pulled his groin very high up.

“Talking to the medics, he has got a bit of power still in his leg which is a positive. It means he has not pulled it off the bone.

“We will probably know in the next 48-72 hours what we need to do with him. Whether we’ve got (time) for him to recover or replace him directly.

“We have got to look at a replacement for Faletau, whether that is directly as a loose-forward replacement or whether we look at another position.

“We’ve got a few sore players, particularly in the backs, after today’s game.

“If you do see Liam Williams on crutches, it is not that he has done anything significantly bad.

“He got a whack on the knee, and the medics, from a comfort perspective, have put him on crutches to save him walking around a bit.

“He has got a knock and probably won’t take a huge part in training in the early part of next week, but hopefully he will be fit for the quarter-final.”

Gatland’s team needed one point to finish top of their group after securing a last-eight place almost two weeks ago by defeating Australia in record-breaking fashion.

And they accomplished it on the same ground that 16 years ago Fiji condemned them to a World Cup pool-stage exit.

Wing Louis Rees-Zammit scored three tries, while there were also touchdowns for prop Tomas Francis, full-back Williams and centre George North.

Anscombe’s late replacement Sam Costelow kicked five conversions and a penalty, although Georgia fought back to 24-19 adrift at one point through tries from Merab Sharikadze, Vano Karkadze and Davit Niniashvili, with Luka Matkava kicking two conversions.

Gatland added: “We won a (World Cup) pool in 2019, so to repeat that from where we were is a lot of credit to the players and the work they have put in with the coaches and support staff.

“I think we can be pretty proud of what we’ve done as a nation in the last four World Cups. We’ve won 14 out of 16 games in our pool.

“A big part of that is that when we’ve been together as a group, the preparation time and the hard work has helped us in preparation for World Cups.

“We knew last week that we were in the quarter-finals. That probably made today a bit of a challenge because, even though we have had the training, there wasn’t that edge that there was for Fiji or Australia.

“But it was enough to get the job done, and sometimes that is where you see the progress of teams.

“We can go away knowing it was a little bit ugly at times and we were under pressure, but we got the job done. We can start focusing on next week.”

On Rees-Zammit, who has now scored five tries in the tournament, Gatland said: “You see the pace he has got.

“He is a player with a huge amount of potential going forward. He is still young and we think he can get better and better.

“The pleasing thing for him is that, and I have a joke with him every day, he has trained every day for six weeks without missing a session.

“That was probably his downfall in the past. He would have a sore back or a sore calf.

“We are getting the best of him by having him play and train every day. He has got a huge amount of potential as an international player, which is exciting for us.”

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