It’s do or die for Australia at the Rugby World Cup after their shock Pool C defeat to Fiji. Another loss to Wales on Sunday would send the two-time winners packing at the pool stage for the first time.

The Wallabies know that they have to dig out a winning performance, but it’s not easy to see where they are going to find the reserves given that a laboured opening victory over Georgia is the only win Australia have posted all year since Eddie Jones took over as coach.

Jones has courted controversy throughout his career and steadfastly stuck to his guns when questioned, such as over his decision to jettison some big names from his World Cup squad.

That move looks to have backfired, as injuries and unconvincing performances have forced him to reconsider his selection.

The Wallabies have a good overall record against Wales and won the most recent meeting between the two last November in Cardiff, a result that sparked the departure of Wayne Pivac and return of Warren Gatland as Wales coach.

So there has been plenty of intrigue in this rivalry in the past and whatever the result in Lyon on Sunday, another fascinating chapter is about to be written.

Defeat would not spell the end for Wales but they cannot take anything for granted in their final pool match against Georgia, who famously also beat them in Cardiff last November, so they have to target a win.

Wales vs Australia Betting Tips

  • Wales to win @ 10/11
  • Marika Koroibete first tryscorer @ 9/1

Team news

Jones caused a stir when he selected only one out-and-out fly-half in his squad but 22-year-old Carter Gordon has failed to convince so Ben Donaldson steps up from full-back for this match, although scrum-half Tate McDermott returns after a concussion lay-off.

Injuries to Will Skelton and Taniela Tupou have left a lack of experience in the pack. Veteran prop James Slipper is fit but has to start on the less familiar tighthead side.

Wales made a raft of changes for their clash with Portugal but have reverted to a line-up closer to their first-choice XV. Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar are the starting half-backs.

Wales to win @ 10/11

This was a fixture that for years Wales simply could not win as they endured a run of 13 straight defeats from 2009 to 2017. They ended that sequence with three wins in a row, the second of which was a pool clash at the 2019 World Cup.

The most recent meeting, in November, ended in a 39-34 win for Australia, but they had to fight back from 34-13 down in the final half an hour when Wales had two players sin-binned.

Wales should still feel they can hold the upper hand in this rivalry and their line-up has a much more solid look to it. After a disappointing Six Nations, Wales performed well against England in their warm-ups and can keep their heads against a rattled Wallabies outfit.

Marika Koroibete first tryscorer @ 9/1

While Australia haven’t been winning games this year, one thing they have delivered is fast starts and they have been remarkably successful at getting on the scoreboard early.

Despite their defeat last time out they outscored Fiji two tries to one, including the first try of the match, while against Georgia they were two tries to the good inside nine minutes.

Before the World Cup the Wallabies had registered their first try inside 13, three, seven, five and eight matches. Powerful winger Marika Koroibete is so often the focus of their attack and scored the opening try in matches against South Africa and New Zealand this year.

 

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