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Sunday 20 October 2019

Hill facing battle to stay part of World Cup

Wales' Jonathan Davies
Wales' Jonathan Davies

Wales lock Cory Hill is facing a major battle to play any part in the Rugby World Cup.

Head coach Warren Gatland said that the Dragons lock will be assessed today.

A decision then looks likely to be made on Hill, who has been battling to overcome a stress fracture of his leg and has not played since February.

Asked at Wales' post-match press conference following a 43-14 World Cup victory over Georgia if Hill was out of the tournament, Gatland said: "Possibly."

And he added: "If he doesn't return to fitness, he will go back to the UK. We're going to assess him tomorrow and see what sort of progress he has made.

"If it's not good news, he will go back. If they think he can recover, then he will stay out. We are going to assess that overnight."

Gatland also revealed that centre Hadleigh Parkes suffered "a bit of a bone fracture" in his hand against Georgia, but he is not expected to be a fitness issue for next Sunday's Pool D showdown against Australia.

And fly-half Dan Biggar suffered a cut under his chin during the warm-up, but he went on to deliver a solid display as Wales began their campaign in six-try fashion.

The Six Nations champions delivered a strong statement of intent less than a week before tackling Australia as they put Georgia to the sword during a dominant first-half display.

Wales had a bonus point wrapped up by half-time after tries from centre Jonathan Davies, flanker Justin Tipuric, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams, with Biggar kicking three conversions and a penalty.

And although the second period proved a much tighter affair - tries by hooker Shalva Mamukashvili and replacement prop Levan Chilachava accurately reflected a stirring Georgia recovery - Wales were never threatened.

Fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze kicked two conversions, while Biggar added the extras to Wales' fifth try from substitute scrum-half Tomos Williams before wing George North claimed a fine solo try that Leigh Halfpenny converted.

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