Wales and Uruguay contest the final match in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup at the Kumamoto Stadium on Sunday and Wales are firm favourites to close out top spot in the group before heading to the quarter finals
Wales v Uruguay, Sunday 13th October, Kumamoto Stadium, KO 10:15 (South African time)
Weather Forecast – Kunamoto
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)
Wales boast the only unbeaten record in this pool and they secured their quarter final place with a hard earned 29-17 win over Fiji on Wednesday. Whilst the margin of victory came in just under where the handicap had been set it was Fiji who scored the first 10 points of the game. Wales hit back to lead 14-10 at half time but Fiji were 17-14 in front early in the second period. Wales eventually pulled away and secured a bonus point in the process.
Wales won their first 2 matches in contrasting styles. They came through their opening game with a 43-14 bonus point win over Georgia, just covering a pre-match handicap of around 27.5 points after leading 29-0 at the break.
The crunch game in this pool always looked likely to be Wales' clash with Australia and the Welsh edged it 29-25. Wales started as narrow favourites to win that game and they took control with a 23-8 half time lead. The Wallabies hit back to get within a point only for Wales to strecth that lead to 4 with a 71st minute penalty and they held on in a frantic finish.
Should Australia win their final pool match against Georgia on Friday Wales will still need to win this game in order to top the pool. England or France will provide the opposition in the last 8 and in the outright betting to win the tournament Wales are trading at around 9/1.
Uruguay were given 50 points start for their most recent outing against Australia and they stayed within that handicap with the game finishing 45-10 in the Wallabies favour (half time 19-3).
Uruguay started their campaign with a huge surprise as they turned Fiji over 30-27. They were given almost 30 points start by the bookmakers for that game and the result was hailed as the finest in their history. After that Uruguay came unstuck against Georgia, going down 33-7. Uruguay were competitive in the first half of that match and only tralied 12-7 at the break but the second 40 minutes was tough going.
In RWC 2015 Uruguay lost all their pool matches so they have already bettered that performance but they would still need to spring an even bigger surprise than they pulled off against Fiji to avoid finishing bottom of this pool.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Wyn Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 James Davies, 22 Tomos Williams, 23 Gareth Davies
Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Leandro Leivas, 13 Juan Manuel Cat, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Nicolas Freitas, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Ignacio Dotti, 3 Diego Arbelo, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti
Replacements: 16 Guillermo Pujadas, 17 Juan Echeverria, 18 Juan Pedro Rombys, 19 Diego Magno, 20 Manuel Diana, 21 Agustin Ormaechea, 22 Tomas Inciarte, 23 Rodrigo Silva
Head to Head
The teams have met just the once and that came in RWC 2015 when Wales scored 8 unanswered tries in a 54-9 victory
Betting - Handicap
Wales -46.5 points at 9/10
Uruguay +46.5 points at 9/10
Quotes are an average of what was on offer from a selection of bookmakers at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Wales have not been the sort of team to amass massive scores against the smaller teams over the years and with Uruguay having impressed me in this tournament to date I am fully expecting them to beat the +44.5 handicap (which has come in from +46.5) and make it my best bet of Sunday’s matches. I would also be surprised if Wales maintained intensity for 80 minutes given the quarter-final on the horizon.