Wales rode their luck in their opening 32-26 victory over Fiji but the history books will show they began their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign with a bonus point win.

They are expected to do the same again on Saturday when they face minnows Portugal, who return to the tournament for the first time in 16 years.

Portugal leaked an average of 52.25 points per game in 2007 and had to rely on some good fortune to make it to this tournament.

That is reflected by Wales making 13 changes to their starting XV for the game in Nice as Warren Gatland looks ahead to his side’s showdown with Australia next Saturday.

Wales vs Portugal Betting Tips

  • Wales (-30) @ 5/6
  • Tomos Williams Anytime Tryscorer @ EVS

Team news

Wales hooker Dewi Lake has recovered from a knee injury and will lead the side, with co-captain Jac Morgan given the day off.

Gareth Anscombe will make his first start since November 2022, featuring at fly-half outside scrum-half Tomos Williams, who wins his 50th cap.

Young Exeter duo Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins are set to start in the second row, with Taulupe Falatau and Louis Rees-Zammit the only players retained from the run-on side against Fiji.

For Portugal, centre Tomas Appleton captains the side in a back-line that also includes record try scorer Rodrigo Marta on the left wing.

Fly-half Jeronimo Portela’s father, Miguel, featured in the midfield in 2007, while 13 of the starting XV represent French clubs, although only Perpignan hooker Mike Tadjer plays in the Top 14.

Wales (-30) @ 5/6

Wales won the pair’s only previous meeting 102-11 during qualification for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

A similar scoreline is unlikely, but Gatland’s side will expect a bonus point victory and should feel they can surpass the 50-point mark.

Therefore, a -30 handicap is by no means insurmountable and with the Wallabies and Fiji also in the pool, Gatland will also have an eye on the points difference column should things go down to the wire.

Tomos Williams Anytime Tryscorer @ EVS

Williams is his country’s second-choice scrum-half behind Gareth Davies for the second straight World Cup.

However, he remains a classy operator and continues to complement Davies in helping to control the game off the bench.

The 28-year-old debuted against South Africa in 2018 and is due to become the seventh Welsh scrum-half to reach a half-century of caps.

He will lead the team out and be desperate to make an impact by getting on the scoresheet in what could prove his sole start of the tournament.

Williams will be looking to snipe around the fringes and is expected to be comfortably on the right side of EVS to cross the whitewash, he could improve on his 12 international tries.

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