Wednesday sees a trio of matches in the Rugby World Cup with Argentina playing USA and Scotland looking to overcome Russia.
Australia vs. USA – Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama
With nothing more than pride on the line in this one – both teams have already been eliminated from the tournament – this will be a big test of character for the two squads.
Argentina have been eliminated in pool play for the first time in 16 years, while both can still technically finish third in the pool and secure an automatic berth at France 2023. This will be the last game in the Pumas jersey for retiring flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamon who will be making his first start of the tournament here. Nicolas Sanchez is back in the side in the No. 10 jersey.
The Americans are looking to youth in this one with 21-year-old Ruben de Haas getting his first start of the tournament at scrum-half.
Best Bet – The USA game everything they had in giving France a tough Test last time out. The question is if they can maintain that intensity against an Argentina side that will be desperate for a win to stop the rot that has been thair national play over the last year or so. The wounded Pumas will strike hard and win big here, covering the 20.5 point spread with BetXhange.
Scotland vs Russia – Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka
Scotland face Russia for the first time knownig that they need a bonus-point win to maintain their World Cup hopes and set up a massive game with Japan on Sunday. Gregor Townsend has made 14 changes to his side, resting key players for the Japan game, in a strategy that simply has to pay off. The only survivor from the impressive win over Samoa is winger Darcy Graham.
Russia have the potential of playing spoilers here and they have proven to be a tough nut to crack in this tournament. Their depth is an issue – it is the reason that Japan and Ireland both took over games against Russia after around 60 minutes – but they will look to keep the game close with physical play.
Best Bet – The longer this game stays close, the more worried and more pressure the Scots will find themselves under. The line here is 34.5, – suggesting that Scotland have more than enough to claim their bonus point – but don’t expect a points onslaught until late in the game. Russia’s issue is their attack just isn’t creative enough to score, but we fancy them to cover at 0.90 with BetXchange.
Wales vs Fiji – Ota Stadium, Ota
Wales have named a strong side to face Fiji with Warren Gatland knowing that this is far from a walk in the park for his team. There are two changed from the starting XV that beat Australia, with James Davies and Ross Moriarty back in the starting lineup ahead of the industrious Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright. Dan Biggar will lead the Welsh around the park while there will be fascinating battles on the wings where the Welsh are represented by George North and Josh Adams.
The Fijians gave Australia all they could handle in the pool opener before suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Uruguay. This is a team some had tipped as a darkhorse for a quarter-final spot and they finally showed that form last time out when they demolished Georgia. The likes of Semi Radradra and Waisea Nayacalevu are as good as any players in the world with ball in hand.
Best Bet – Wales aren’t quite on upset alert here, but it won’t be a walk in the park either. What Wales do better than anyone is play with a high tempo and work rate, something that will need to be established early against the powerful running Fijians. The lean is for Fiji to cover at +17.5 with BetXchange, but there are other games on Wednesday that we like more than this one given Fiji’s ability to excel or implode.