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Australia v Wales: Warren Gatland's fierce competitors can topple Wallabies

Wales wing George North
George North attacks in Wales' opener
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Simon Mail previews the huge clash between Australia and Wales on Sunday morning which is likely to decide the pool winners, and picks out the best bets from Georgia v Uruguay...

"Wales had a wretched record against Australia but crucially won the most recent encounter in a 9-6 victory last November. After a run of 13 successive defeats, this was a massive result for Warren Gatland's side and will give them the belief going into this decisive match."

Australia v Wales
Sunday, 08:45
Live on ITV

Wales make fast start in opener

Wales started their World Cup campaign promisingly after a six-try 43-14 win against Georgia to set them up strongly for this huge clash against Australia. The likelihood is this weekend's match in Tokyo against the Wallabies will decide their group and will have a major bearing on their potential route to the final in November.

Warren Gatland is taking charge of his final tournament with Wales and he believes his team can go all the way in the World Cup. The Six Nations Grand Slam champions certainly looked sharp during the first half against Georgia with tries from Jonathan Davies, Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams and Liam Williams sealing the bonus point.

Significantly, Gatland has resisted the chance to make changes for this weekend's game and has selected the same team. Captain Alun Wyn Jones will win his 130th Wales cap to become the country's most capped player. His role in marshalling the defence will be crucial and their ability to keep out Australia could decide the contest.

Wallabies avoid scare in first match

Australia came into the competition under the radar after an unimpressive couple of years. The Wallabies are capable of brilliance, as they showed in defeating New Zealand this summer, but consistency has been lacking and the 2015 finalists are not among the favourites. Michael Cheika's side looked in trouble in their opener, trailing 21-12, before fighting back to win 39-21.

Experienced half-backs Will Genia and Bernard Foley are brought back into the side to face Wales in place of Nic White and Christian Lealiifano. Dane Haylett-Petty is preferred at full-back to Kurtley Beale although he is likely to have an impact from off the bench. Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces the suspended Reece Hodge after the wing was banned for three games for a dangerous tackle.

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Wales had a wretched record against Australia but crucially won the most recent encounter in a 9-6 victory last November. After a run of 13 successive defeats, this was a massive result for Gatland's side and will give them the belief going into this decisive match. The betting suggests it will be tight with Wales narrow favourites.

In 12 of the last 13 games between the teams, the match has been settled by no more than nine points and there is every reason to expect a similarly close, low-scoring contest. Wales' defence has become their strongest asset though and looks capable of making the difference. This is far from a vintage Australia side and Wales look to have the edge in another tight battle.

Georgia v Uruguay
Sunday, 06:15
Live on ITV

Uruguay pull off huge upset

Uruguay produced one of the biggest World Cup upsets after a stunning 30-27 victory against Fiji in their opener. Tries from Santiago Arata, Manuel Diana and Juan Manuel Cat in the first half gave them a lead which they managed to hold on to in a famous win. Uruguay were visibly emotional after the game following a performance of huge determination and character.

Georgia also showed plenty of fight but the damage was done after trailing 29-0 at half-time against Wales on Monday. A spirited second-half showing saw them score two tries as they were beaten 43-14. It was a game of two halves for Georgia as they were totally out of their depth in the opening 40 minutes but improved significantly in the second half.

Uruguay should be able to feed off their heroic win against Fiji in this match and the outsiders look worth backing with a 17-point handicap advantage. Georgia have won the last three games between the teams but two of those came by no more than nine points. Uruguay will take a huge amount of belief and confidence from their triumph and should be able to stay within the handicap.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

P/L 2019-20 season

Staked: 16pts
Returned: 8.70pts
P/L: -7.30pts

Simon Mail,

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