Our man, Rob Cole, is on the ground in Lyon. Here’s what he thinks about a burning Wales and injured Wallabies.
You said it, buddy
Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones are good friends. But that won’t stop Gats from doing everything he can to put even more pressure on his friend.
The Welsh coach expects “a hell of a game”. I’m with him. I think it will be a ripper.
Eddie doubles the bet. Because of course he is. But are you buying what he’s selling?
I don’t think I am. No more. This is my take on a man who seems to be losing control.
It’s a strange reality for a team that has produced Michael Lynagh and Stephen Larkham, but Australia have serious problems at flyhalf.
Carter Gordan was chosen as the only true 10 in the 33 squad at the expense of Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper but he now finds himself on the bench for this one. Instead, Ben Donaldson, more of a full-back than a second five-eighth, as some Australians call him, will occupy the more important position.
Australia: Andrew Kellaway; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Ben Donaldson, Tate McDermott; Angus Bell, David Porecki (captain), James Slipper, Nick Frost, Richard Arnold, Robert Leota, Tom Hooper, Rob Valetini.
Replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Suli Vunivalu.
Warren Gatland has recalled 12 players who started against Fiji in the first round but were rested for Portugal. Only Taulupe Faletau, Louis Rees-Zammit and captain Jac Morgan retain their starting places while Adam Beard will win his 50th cap for his country.
Wales: Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis; Will Rowlands, Adam Beard; Aaron Wainwright, Jac Morgan (captain), Taulupe Faletau
Substitutes: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Henry Thomas, Dafydd Jenkins, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rio Dyer.
That’s it. Do or die. Win and live to fight another day. Lose and become the first Wallabies coach to face first-round elimination from the World Cup.
That’s the scenario facing Eddie Jones who, it was revealed this morning, had a secret Zoom job interview with a Japanese club just days before the tournament began. It is just the latest scandal involving a manager who fostered a siege mentality as prominent football figures publicly questioned his decisions.
As for Wales and their boss, Warren Gatland, the preparation for this decisive match was much smoother. A hard-fought victory against Fiji means they can still afford to drop a match and advance to the quarter-finals. Not that they want to take risks. A win tonight will almost certainly see them top a tough group and provide a relatively comfortable path to a semi-final.
With so much going on on this one, it promises to perform better.
It was a wild weekend of rugby, with last night’s epic a major highlight so far in the competition. If it’s half as good, we’re in for a treat.
Kick-off at 9:00 p.m. local time/8:00 p.m. BST.
Teams and other updates to come.