The Sapporo Dome features the opening game of the Rugby World Cup for the Wallabies and the Flying Fijians this Saturday afternoon from 2:45pm.
Australia has picked an experienced squad for the first game and they’ll be out for redemption after losing the 2015 World Cup final to the All Blacks. The hard-nosed pair of David Pocock and skipper Michael Hooper will lineup together. Meanwhile, 2.8m giant Rory Arnold is back after a hand injury in the crushing win over the All Blacks a few months ago. They’ll continue with the same halves combination as Nic White and Christian Lealiifano look to build consistency throughout this tournament. Overall, the squad boasts 600 test caps and that should be the major difference against Fiji.
Expectations aren’t overly high for Fiji in terms of reaching the Quarters. But they should be an entertaining team to watch. They’ll need to throw the ball around against the Wallabies and make their defence uncomfortable with the likes of former NRL winger Semi Radradra. Coming into the tournament, Fiji have warmed up with wins over Tonga (29-19) and Samoa (10-3). They’ve also beaten the French in France last year and the Maori All Blacks in mid-July. However, their record against the Wallabies is concerning.
Overall, Australia has won 18 of the 21 meetings in the history of Rugby between the two sides. In recent times, the last clash was back in mid-2017 at AAMI Park and the Wallabies recorded another comfortable victory, 37-14. They do also have history in the World Cup format as Australia have won the last 2 meetings by a combined total of 83-25. So it’s hard to go past the Wallabies by a large margin. 7 of the last 8 meetings have been decided by 16+ points so we like the line in Australia’s favour.
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