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Wales v Fiji: Warren Gatland's side to consolidate top spot with victory

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones
Wales toppled Australia to take control of their pool
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Simon Mail previews a busy day of World Cup action including Wales' match against Fiji and Scotland's game with Russia...

"In this World Cup, Wales have made fast starts and another dominant first-half performance is anticipated. Wales led 23-8 at half-time against Australia and were 29-0 ahead at the break during the win over Georgia."

Wales v Fiji
Wednesday, 10:45
Live on ITV

Wales in control after Australia win

Wales took control of their pool after a gripping 29-25 victory against Australia in Tokyo. Warren Gatland's side held off a fierce second-half fightback from the Wallabies to secure a vital win. It means two more victories will secure top spot and give them the advantage of potentially avoiding a quarter-final against England.

Gatland has selected a strong team for this match, which is a signal of intent, with only two changes from their match against Australia. James Davies comes into the pack for the rested Justin Tipuric with Ross Moriarty replacing Aaron Wainwright. Fly-half Dan Biggar has been passed fit to keep his place after recovering from the head injury during their last win.

Fiji have provided plenty of entertainment during this World Cup but it has not gone to plan after their shock defeat to Uruguay. This sparked a strong response in their last game and Fiji were in scintillating form as they crushed Georgia 45-10. Semi Radradra was in unstoppable form, scoring twice as Fiji finally delivered a complete performance.

Wales are overwhelming favourites for this match and they have won nine of their 11 previous clashes against Fiji. In this World Cup, Wales have made fast starts and another dominant first-half performance is anticipated. Wales led 23-8 at half-time against Australia and were 29-0 ahead at the break during the win over Georgia. A first-half handicap of seven points looks well within their range with Wales expected to maintain their winning run in Japan.

Scotland v Russia
Wednesday, 08:15
Live on ITV

Scotland desperate for bonus-point win

Scotland are under immense pressure going into the last two pool matches with Gregor Townsend's side needing two convincing wins to progress. Five points is a must against Russia with the decisive match against hosts Japan to come on Sunday. Scotland recovered well from their defeat to Ireland, beating Samoa 34-0, but it is only a starting point if they are to advance to the last-eight of the World Cup.

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With the huge clash against Japan only four days after this match, Townsend has made 14 changes to his side. Understandably, he wants to keep his first choice team fresh for the decider and believes this group can do the job against Russia. Wing Darcy Graham is the only player retained from the Samoa win with flanker John Barclay returning to captain the team.

Russia have competed manfully during the pool stage and the Bears deserve credit for their fighting spirit against much stronger opponents. Russia started brightly against Japan before losing 30-10 and tiredness affected them after a quick turnaround in their 34-9 loss to Samoa. Ireland failed to impress last week in their 35-0 victory with Russia producing a dogged defensive effort.

It is tempting to side with Russia, given a 32-point handicap advantage, but Scotland's desperation for tries is slightly off putting. Scotland must secure a bonus-point win and they could punish Russia in the closing stages. If Scotland have not sealed maximum points, this could spark a frenzied attacking push late on and it is worth backing more tries in the second half of the match.

Argentina v USA
Wednesday, 05:45
Live on ITV4

Pumas heavy favourites to end on a high

Argentina's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were ended after their 39-10 defeat to England on Saturday. Any hopes the Pumas had of upsetting England effectively ended after the red card to Tomas Lavanini for his reckless challenge on Owen Farrell. Argentina will go out in the pool stage for the first time in 16 years but it is a reflection of their decline in recent seasons.

USA have opened up the tournament with back-to-back defeats although they showed significant improvement against France. Midway through the second half, USA moved within three points of their opponents before France pulled away to win 33-9. Gary Gold's side are bidding to win their first World Cup match since beating Russia in 2011.

Argentina are a shadow of the team which reached two of the last three World Cup semi-finals and USA will believe they can push them close in Kumagaya. The outsiders are given a 21-point handicap advantage and this appeals against a struggling side. Argentina have lost 11 of their last 12 matches and have not beaten a team by more than 21 points since the end of 2016.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

P/L 2019-20 season

Staked: 24.5pts
Returned: 15.0pts
P/L: -9.5pts

Simon Mail,

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