RWC 2019 Pool D: Australia vs. Georgia
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka
Date: Friday, October 11, 2019
Australia have already qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup after Wales took care of Fiji on Wednesday. They can technically still top Pool D, but that would take a meltdown of epic proportions from the Welsh in their final match of pool play against Uruguay.
Australia have yet to put an 80-minute performance together in this tournament and they will look to do so here. They opened with a 39-21 victory against a Fijian side that could easily be playing in the quarter-finals with a little more discipline, before going down 29-25 to the Welsh. A 45-10 win over Uruguay was as comfortable as it sounds, but this is a team that needs to show something with the knock-out stages just around the corner.
Georgia are fourth in the pool and an upset win here would take them into third place and an automatic qualification spot for France 2023. An opening defeat at the hands of Wales was expected, as was their 33-7 win over Uruguay in their second match. What is of concern would be the way that Georgia tired late against Fiji, allowing the Pacific Island team to run up a 45-7 score in their win. Georgia has some pride to play for here.
It feels like Australia might be rotating the lineup too much. Head coach Michael Cheika has named his third starting fly-half of the World Cup, with Matt To’omua getting the nod in the No. 10 jumper. It seems that Cheika is still looking for answers at certain positions within his starting XV, a problem when the quarter-final is a week away. David Pocock will captain a side that is without Michael hooper and Allan Alaalatoa who are among the rested stars.
The Georgians have made a pair of changes to their starting XV for this clash with No. 8 Beka Saginaze and scrum-half Gela Aprasidze both taking to the pitch. It will also be a big day for flanker Mamuka Gorgodze who will start his record-equalling 15th Rugby World Cup match for Georgia. The Georgians are banking on consistency being important here against an Australian side making 10 total changes to its starting lineup.
This is an interesting matchup as Australia have really flattered to deceive so far with their inability to find playmakers and strike runners. They are doing the dirty work well enough, but their creativity has been a mess with neither Bernard Foley of Christian Lealilfano really able to spark anything in attack.
Georgia are nothing more than workmanlike for the most part, but they have a scrum that will give Australia problems and a defense that will be hard to breach early in the game. The line here is 26.5, a number that Australia might struggle to reach given what we have seen from them so far in Japan. Georgia will tire late, but they will have enough about them to cover at +26.5 at 0.95 with BetXchange.