Adams on target to crown rapid rise by being top try-scorer
Wing made Wales debut only last year but glory already beckons, writes Ben Coles in Kumamoto
Josh Adams’s four tries in four days last week mean the Wales wing has as good a chance as anyone of finishing top try-scorer at the World Cup. Adams followed up his hat-trick against Fiji in Oita by scoring Wales’s second try in Sunday’s win over Uruguay, taking his overall tally to five in Japan having also crossed against Georgia. Given that Adams made his Test debut only last year, and was playing for Cinderford RFC in National League One three years ago, it has been some rise for the 24-year-old.
“Am I?” was Adams’s incredulous response when informed that he was this World Cup’s top try-scorer so far. “I was told Shane [Williams] is the record holder for Wales at a World Cup with six. Fingers crossed with three more games to go hopefully I can pip him. We’ll wait and see.”
Naturally, Adams faces plenty of competition, particularly from Japan wing Kotaro Matsushima, who also scored his fifth try of the World Cup on Sunday against Scotland. Matsushima’s Japan team-mate, Kenki Fukuoka, is also in the mix on four tries.
Matching, or even surpassing, the all-time record for the most tries at a World Cup is not out of the question for Adams, with that elite group of Julian Savea (2015), Bryan Habana (2007) and the late Jonah Lomu (1990) having scored eight tries in a single tournament.
“It wouldn’t be bad to join that list, would it? There are some legends there,” Adams admitted. “It’s always nice to get a try. I think we left a lot out there [against Uruguay] as well in terms of tries. I think Hallam [Amos] had a hat-trick disallowed. It would be nice if I could join that list, but most importantly we need to win the games first.”
Wales are now back in Oita preparing for this weekend’s quarter-final with France and their recent record over Jacques Brunel’s side should inspire some confidence, having won seven of the past eight meetings, the outlier being the 100-minute, shambolic scrum finish at the Stade de France two years ago.
Who knows really what to expect though of France at this tournament, after they showed flashes of brilliance in the first halves of their wins over Argentina and Tonga before running into trouble? They will also have had an extra week’s rest following the cancellation of their match against England.
“France are renowned for being able to turn it on and when they do they’re extremely dangerous. They’ve got some quality players,” Adams said. “At times in this competition they’ve looked really, really good. They definitely pose a threat to us. We have seven days now, which is nice, especially after the four days we’ve just had. That was tough, especially backing up. Me and [Hadleigh] Parksey were sore but we got through it all right and that’s the main thing.
“We’re excited now because this is where we wanted to get ourselves to. Top of the pool gives 48 Yu Yamura (Japan)
30 Felipe Berchesi (Uruguay)
28 Elton Jantjies (S Africa),
26 Adam Hastings (Scotland), Johnny Sexton (Ireland), Jordie Barrett (NZ), Richie Mo’unga (NZ)
5 Josh Adams (Wales), Kotaro Matsushima (Japan).
4 Julian Montoya (Argentina), Keaki Fukuoka (Japan).
us the best chance of making it all the way.”
Assuming he is selected – and there was nothing about his performance against Uruguay to suggest otherwise – Adams will be playing in the biggest game of his career, due reward for his perseverance and self-belief. “I’d never have said I’d be standing here telling you that 18 months ago, but I’m over the moon to be here. Selection dependent, hopefully I can get out there next Sunday and do everybody proud.”
Alun Wyn Jones, the Wales captain, has already set the tone for the knockout stages, telling the squad that they are 240 minutes away from potentially achieving something very special. “Definitely. When you say it like that it does put it into perspective a little bit, doesn’t it? But we’ve got a really tough 80 minutes next Sunday,” Adams added. “There is no reason why this group of players can’t achieve something special. We’ve got belief in each other and in the squad and I think we’re all really excited moving forwards now.”
Finishing touch: Josh Adams has scored five tries at this World Cup