The Wallabies will be up against Wales to achieve the top spot in pool A of the Rugby World Cup 2015 this Sunday at Twickenham Stadium.
Both sides have already qualified through to the quarter final stages of the tournament, as the host nation England lost to both Australia and Wales respectively to end their cup campaign.
A lock on 13 points, the winner of Sunday’s clash will face either Scotland or Japan, while the loser faces the far more daunting task of having to topple South Africa.
The Wallabies will be boosted by the news of star full-back, Israel Folau, being recovered from his ankle injury and fit to be run out.
Wales had also been decimated by injury throughout the tournament, forcing coach Warren Gatland to make six changes to the side that beat Fiji last week. Kiwi full-back, Gareth Anscombe will make his first appearance of the tournament, while impact winger George North moves into the centres to line up against Australian player Tevita Kuridrani, in a mouth-watering matchup.
The loss of open-side flanker Michael Hooper, will undoubtedly hurt the Wallabies following his one-match suspension for dangerous contact on English full-back Mike Brown during last week’s victory. Luckily for coach Michael Cheika, last year’s Junior Wallabies captain and Melbourne Rebels flanker Sean McMahon is a capable replacement.
Recent history certainly favours the Australian side, having beaten Wales in their last 10 straight meetings and all four of their past World Cup encounters. The last time the two sides meet at a World Cup event was at Eden Park in 2011, won by the Wallabies, 21-18.
Despite the history, the winner of this match will gain some valuable confidence for the rest of the tournament. – Jackson Thomas
Top photo of Sean McMahon is from The Wallabies Official Facebook page.