Australia and Wales will go head-to-head on Sunday the 29th of September in the pick of the Round 2 Rugby World Cup weekend action.
With Fiji having lost to Uruguay this past week, Australia and Wales know that they have essentially qualified for the quarter-finals. All that’s left to decide is which one of these teams will top the pool. This will become far more clear when the final whistle goes at the Ajinomoto Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Australia v Wales
Sunday 29 September
To Win (80 Mins)
Australia (+2.5) 9/10
Wales (-2.5) 9/10
It was a bit of a topsy-turvy opening week for Michael Cheika’s Wallabies both on and off the field as they were forced to stage a dramatic second-half comeback to beat Fiji and also had to deal with utility back Reece Hodge being suspended for three weeks for a reckless tackle of Fijian flanker Pecile Yato.
Focusing on the on-field stuff, Cheika’s boys really made hard work of it during the opening stanza against the Fijians with their expansive gameplan backfiring so spectacularly that they trailed to Fiji at half-time for the first time since the 1960’s. They went back to basics during the second stanza and this reaped great dividends as their driving maul spearheaded a comeback of note, with the Wallabies eventually running out 39-21 victors.
Cheika seems to be wary of employing the same expansive game plan this weekend which has led the veteran Australian coach to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up. The biggest of which sees Bernard Foley return to the starting XV in the fly-half role.
The Welsh had no hiccups during their opener against the Georgians as they trounced the Eastern European minnows 43-14. While they did take the gas off during the second half, it was still a solid all-around performance from Warren Gatland’s charges.
While his opposite number has rung the changes, Gatland has opted for consistency naming an identical starting line-up to the one that beat Georgia. The game will see veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones become the most capped player in Welsh rugby history.
Wales have a rather poor record against Australia and have only won one of their past 15 matches against the Wallabies. The victory did come rather recently, however, with Wales edging Australia 9-6 at the Millenium stadium at the close of last year.
Verdict: Australia 11/10
I really fancy the Aussies’ chances here. Their rolling maul looked good last week and if they implement a simple gameplan then I reckon they will get the better of the Welsh.
Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets