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

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - Points

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)

Tries

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

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