Wales To Keep Wallabies Margin Tight
Australia v Wales
Wales kicked off in Pool A by running in eight tries against Uruguay, but looked to be heading for defeat after an hour of their crucial Twickenham encounter against England, before mounting a stirring late comeback to clinch a two-point victory.
They had to work hard against Fiji, enduring a brutal examination but held on for a 23-13 win to set up this Pool decider against the Wallabies.
Australia came into this tournament having lost just once in 2015 and they have continued that strong form. Fiji gave them a tough opener but they came through with a twelve point win before thrashing Uruguay 65-3. They were second favourites against England last Saturday, but never looked in trouble as they saw off the hosts in a comfortable 33-13 win to top the Pool.
Warren Gatland has had to cope with a number of setbacks, with Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos and Cory Allen all suffering tournament-ending injuries. But there were no further injury problems following the Fiji game, and full back Liam Williams and prop Paul James could be available for selection. Samson Lee, Luke Charteris and Justin Tipuric are also all likely to start.
Australia suffered a blow on Tuesday when open side flanker Michael Hooper was given a one week ban for an illegal cleanout on Mike Brown in the game against England. His place will be taken by Ben McCalman or rookie Sean McMahon. The Wallabies could also be forced to make several changes in the backs with Israel Folau, Robb Horne and Matt Giteau all carrying injuries.
Wales have beaten Australia on ten occasions, but eight of those victories came before 1990 and they’ve only won twice this century.
The last Wales win came at the Millennium Stadium in 2008, when they led 15-10 at half-time and held off a late Australian rally to claim a three point win.
Otherwise, the head to head record has been a story of Australian dominance.
The Wallabies have won twenty-seven of their thirty-eight meetings, including the last ten in a row,
…although it is worth noting that the average margin of victory in the last nine wins has been just 4.4 points.
Given their horrendous luck with injuries, Wales showed tremendous character in fighting back against England, and their reward is to still be in with a chance of topping the Pool and avoiding a quarter-final against South Africa.
Although this could be one game too far against an Australian side that has added an effective scrum to their fluency in the backs, I think Warren Gatland’s side can run the Wallabies close.
Back Wales +7 at 10/11 in the Match Handicap market. And don’t forget, if you have a bet in the first tryscorer market, BoyleSports will give you your money back as a free bet if the first try of the game is not converted.
*Prices correct at time of publication.