What a morning we have in store on Wednesday. First up at 5.45am is the meeting of Argentina and the US of A in Kumagaya. Only the die-hard rugby fans will get out of bed for this one, but it should be a very open game of rugby.
Argentina have won all eight previous encounters against USA, most recently in 2003 when Argentina won 42-8 in Buenos Aires, which marked their biggest victory over USA. Also factoring in that Argentina have won each of their last 12 Rugby World Cup matches versus current Tier 2 sides and that the USA have lost all 18 matches versus current Tier 1 nations at the World Cup, by an average score difference of 33, there is only one way this game is going. Argentina -21 is the first bet in our treble.
Next up, at a more decent time of 8.15am, is the meeting of Scotland and Russia in Ireland’s Pool. The Scots have made 14 changes to the XV which started against Samoa last week. Only Darcy Graham, who switches wings, remains. Scotland lost 27-3 to Ireland in their RWC 2019 opener but won 34-0 against Samoa in their second match. Should things go their way, Scotland could become the first country in RWC history to not concede any points in consecutive World Cup matches.
We don’t have much confidence in Russia in this one, but we are not on the Scottish bandwagon just yet. Scotland and Russia have never met before in a test match, so we don’t really have any form on this one, but Scotland have something to play for here, as well as keeping an eye on their final Pool game with Japan this weekend.
With Russia having lost their six World Cup matches by an average margin of 31 points, we don’t see a surprise here, however, with 14 changes, Scotland are going to struggle to get continuity into their play early on, meaning we think Russia might get a foothold in this one, before being put away in the second half. Russia +33 is the handicap and we think it is just fair.
The final instalment in our Wednesday trilogy is the meeting of Wales and Fiji. The rugby nerd in all of us is looking forward to this one, as arguably the two most expressive teams in the tournament meet in Oita.
Wales have named 13 of the starting XV that beat Australia in their last game. The only changes are in the back row where James Davies and Ross Moriarty come in for Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright.
Not really weakening anything there are they?
Meanwhile, Fiji make one change to the XV which started against Georgia. Viliame Mata comes in for Peceli Yato in the back row. Mata, one of the best ball carriers in World Rugby is sure to be a big factor for the Fijians and this game could very well end up being a one-stop highlight reel for the World Cup itself.
In terms of the betting, Wales come into this with the longest break in World Cup history (10 days) so they will be fit and fresh. With Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar holding the reins of the Welsh Dragon, there is only going to be one winner.
Fiji will have their moments in this one as unstructured, high-tempo games are their bread-and-butter, but the power and pace of the Welsh pack, coupled with their centre pairings’ power and guile will be enough to see them through in this one. Wales to win by 13 points or more is 4/7 and lifts this treble to 6/1.