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Rugby World Cup: Wales v Australia preview

After the shock of their defeat at the hands of Fiji, it’s all or nothing for Australia as they prepare to face Wales in Lyon.

Pool C always looked like an intriguing group and the Fijians have blown it wide open following their 22-15 victory against the Wallabies last time out.

With pressure mounting on head coach Eddie Jones, he needs a response from his players against a Welsh side that are showing more about them then their disappointing 2023 Six Nations campaign would have suggested.

WhatWales v Australia
WhereOL Stadium, Lyon
When05:00 (AEST), Monday 25th September 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Stan Sport
OddsWales 1.80, Australia 2.00

Wallabies character to be put to the test

It’s hard to argue that Fiji were not fully deserving of their victory at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. 

Formidable at the breakdown, the Pacific Islanders suffocated any momentum Australia had with the ball in hand.

Jones selected a youthful squad for this 2023 World Cup and they were found out against a Flying Fijian side that earned their first win over the Wallabies since 1954.

But all is not lost and Australia can still secure their place in the knockout stages of this tournament.

First they must overcome a Wales side that were made to battle for their 32-26 win over the Fijians, before labouring to a 28-8 victory against Portugal.

Wales are certainly there to be got at but Australia will have to go through the gears to best Warren Gatland’s side once again.

Big call at 10 to be made

Jones has a significant call to make on who will start at fly-half for this crucial Pool C encounter.

There are suggestions Ben Donldson could move into the No.10 role, having played the last two World Cup games at full-back.

Stand-off Carter Gordon was taken off in the loss to Fiji and Donaldson could take his starting role at 10, while there continues to be the debate on whether experienced duo Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley should have been selected in the squad.

Australia line-out coach Dan Palmer has been rather coy on the subject of the starting fly-half against Wales, saying: "We have got two good 10s who we are confident in and are pushing each other hard. Ben brings a bit of composure to that position, but we have two good 10s and we will pick the guy who is right for this weekend."

Wales will want to avoid permutations

Knowing that victory will secure their place in the knockout stages, Wales will be doing all they can to get the job done in Lyon.

The permutations on who will be the two nations to qualifying look like they will go right down to the final game in this pool.

Wales were disappointing in the last Six Nations championship but look to be building in confidence under the experienced Gatland.

The Welsh are the slight favourites at 1.80 going into this one, while the Wallabies are 2.00 to pull off a crucial win that will significantly boost their chances of playing knockout rugby in France.

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