Australia and Wales meet in a clash that could decide who finishes top of Pool D.
The Welsh won their opening match against Georgia 43-14, while the Wallabies beat Fiji 39-21.The two sides met in Cardiff in November, with Wales narrowly edging the Australians 9-6 to end a run of 13 consecutive defeats against the southern hemisphere side.This will be their seventh encounter at a Rugby World Cup, with Australia winning five of those matches.
Australia vs Wales will take place on Sunday, September 29.
It will kick off at 8.45am UK time – 4.15pm in Japan and 5.15pm in Sydney.
The Tokyo Stadium is the venue for the match.
The Wales players have freely admitted this week that they have had a big red circle around this game in their diaries since the schedule was first announced.
The same is probably true of their Australia counterparts. As pivotal group games go, few could have been more important than this one.
Both teams go into the game having won their World Cup opener. Wales bagged their bonus point by half-time against Georgia before easing off while Australia needed a second-half comeback to see off a fierce challenge from Fiji.
So for Sunday’s winners, topping the pool is all but assured and the route to the final on November 2 is a seemingly easier path with England and New Zealand unlikely to provide the opposition.
But if Wales lose they will face another crucial game against a Fiji side that could still snatch second spot behind the Wallabies with a win despite that unexpected defeat against Uruguay. The upside for Wales is the 10-day turnaround before the game at Oita Stadium on 9 October.
“We have not really looked too far ahead. If you do get out of the group all quarter-finals are going to be pretty tough. It is about taking one game at a time and trying to build and create momentum,” said coach Warren Gatland.
“We feel as if we are a team who are capable of doing that, the longer we go in tournaments we feel as if we get better and more cohesive.”
Winning against Australia is something Wales have struggled to do in Gatland’s tenure. In 15 meetings, Wales have triumphed just twice though they did end a 13-game losing record with a 9-6 victory the last time the sides met in Cardiff in November 2018.
At World Cups, the only win in six attempts for Wales came in the first meeting: the third/fourth place play-off in New Zealand in 1987 when full-back Paul Thorburn snatched victory with a late conversion from the touch-line.
Wales reckon Australia coach Michael Cheika has paid them the ultimate compliment by recalling the experienced duo of scrum-half Will Genia and fly-half Bernard Foley to counter the kicking threat of Wales’s fly-half Dan Bigga