The Aussies are still smarting from their defeat to Wales and will be looking to get back in the game against the biggest surprise packet of this World Cup so far – Uruguay. Well, they beat Fiji, so I think that’s it for them.
Australia have made 12 changes to the starting XV who lost to Wales. Allan Alaalatoa and Michael Hooper remain, as does Dane Haylett-Petty, this time on the wing rather than at full-back. There are two players selected in the starting XV who were also selected in the starting XV four years ago when Australia last faced Uruguay at a Rugby World Cup. They are Matt To’omua and Kurtley Beale. FYI – Australia won that one 65-3.
Taking into account that Uruguay have never won two matches at a single Rugby World Cup and the scoring of 30 points in their opener was a record for them in the competition, this game is going only one way.
We have been caught by the handicaps in this World Cup already, but with the strike runners on show for Australia and the need to make up ground on Wales, plus Mr Cheika’s World record levels of frustration, I think Uruguay are about to feel the wrath of the Wallabies.
Once the Aussies have landed the first of the treble, we are counting on the Argies to help us out with the second. England are one of the favourites to land the William Webb Ellis trophy, but following wins over Tonga and the USA, this Saturday morning is going to be their first real test.
England have made nine changes, with only Joe Marler, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola, George Ford, and Elliot Daly remaining from the 15 who started against the USA last Thursday.
Argentina make one change from the XV that started the match against Tonga with number eight Javier Ortega Desio replacing Tomas Lezana. Argentina could have and probably should have, beaten France first up.
Their last minute penalty miss aside, they had the French on the ropes with their high octane rucks and lines of running you would need a protractor to defend, they will cause England some trouble.
England should have enough in the tank to win this one, but with their schedule loaded with heavy action at the end of the Pool (France to come) they might not win this one as comfortably as the handicap of 14 points suggests.
Pick: Argentina +14 @ Evs
Samoa and the hosts Japan will hopefully bring to an end a wonderful morning of good old rugby union. This game is very intriguing. Will Japan be able to follow up on the win over Ireland with the same high-pressure, high speed, high everything kind of rugby football?
If they do, will the Samoans be able to live with them?
Samoa have made six changes to their starting line-up from their 34-0 loss to Scotland. Jordan Lay, Seilala Lam, Piula Faasalele and Ulupano Seuteni all make their first starts of RWC 2019. Ah See Tuala starts for the first time and makes his first appearance in a match-day 23.
Meanwhile Japan have made three changes to the starting XV that defeated Ireland. Atsushi Sakate, Wimpie van der Walt and all round Japanese legend, Michael Leitch, all come into the starting line-up at the expense of Shota Horie, Luke Thompson and Amanaki Mafi.
Japan will be forgiven for having one eye on Scotland in the final Pool game. After all, their position in the quarter-final rankings will come down to that game regardless of what goes on this weekend. I fully envisage Japan having enough to see off the hard tackling, hard working, if unstructured, Samoans.
However, there is something telling me that Japan will be happy with a win and nothing more, to set up that winner-takes-all tie with the Scots. Does this leave the door open for the Samoans to cover the 19 point handicap? I think so.
Pick: Samoa +19 @ Evens.
*Prices are correct at time of publishing & the treble of Australia -52, Argentina +14 & Samoa +19 pays 7/1 if all results click