- Faletau comes back from injury as Gatland’s side win first two matches
- Australia stunned by Fiji
- Wales four points clear at the top ahead of crucial clash
Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is emerging as a key man ahead of their pivotal clash with Australia in their third Pool C game. Faletau, who is two matches into his comeback after being ruled out of Wales’ three pre-tournament friendlies in August with a calf injury, has stated that he is growing into the World Cup since his return.
Faletau return boosts Wales
The 32-year-old Faletau capped an impressive personal performance in the win against Portugal by going over for Wales’ bonus point try and also made a vital try-saving tackle.
The Cardiff number eight has 102 caps for Wales and, after the squad took bonus points wins against Fiji and Portugal, has stated that there is a sense of belief among the squad. Fiji have proved themselves to be a difficult opponent and although the Portugal performance was scrappy at times, it yielded a bonus point and it came with a much-changed starting 15 as coach Warren Gatland utilised his squad.
“The more I play, the better I feel and can get myself into the games,” said Faletau.
“With the work we have done we are very confident in the group of what we can do…
“The togetherness we have built in that time together will put us in good stead.”
Wallabies under pressure after Fiji defeat
While Wales are currently in control of their own destiny, Australia, on the other hand, are facing a more precarious situation following their loss to Fiji. It was Fiji’s first triumph against the Wallabies since 1954 and Eddie Jones’ side stand on the edge of a potential exit in the pool stage, a scenario they’ve never faced before. Their upcoming match against Wales is of utmost importance. A loss without picking up a losing bonus point could mean their destiny slips out of their hands as the competition advances.
In the event that teams end up with the same number of match points at the conclusion of the group stages, several criteria will be used to determine the standings. This includes head-to-head results, points difference, try difference, points scored, and tries scored. This underscores the significance of every point and performance in deciding which teams progress to the next stage of the tournament.
When it comes to the World Cup action, Wales and Australia are familiar rivals, having played each other seven times.
And while Australia lead that particular series 5-2, Wales have won three of the last four in all competitions.
Wales’ Pool C campaign concludes against Georgia in Nantes on Saturday, 7 October.
The bookies are anticipating a very tight encounter. At the time of writing, bet365 have Wales as evens and Australia at 20/21, with the draw 18/1.
Wales are seen as favourites to win Pool C with Fiji second favourites and Australia third favourites.
Both sides are seen as outsiders to win the trophy, bet365 currently have Australia at 25/1 and Wales at 33/1.
Punters need to analyse the performance of the teams in the group and decide whether this current Australian side has enough quality and determination to do enough to qualify, whether Wales can finish the job and whether Fiji, who are playing very well, can do enough in their remaining games to cause an upset.