Wallabies can’t afford loss to Wales
Pool D - Australia, Wales, Fiji, Georgia, Uruguay
What to expect: Another tricky group. Whoever wins between the Wallabies and Wales should top the group and earn a potentially easier quarterfinal opponent but Fiji are the spoiler. The most dangerous of the Pacific Islands teams they showed what they are capable of when they beat France in Paris last year.
Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >
Best Finish: Champions (1991, 1999)
Captain: Michael Hooper
Coach: Michael Cheika
Betting: $15 to win the tournament, $2.20 to win the pool
History: Unlucky not to make the 1987 final, beat England at Twickenham to win the second edition in 1991 then became the first nation to win the World Cup twice when John Eales led the Wallabies to victory in Cardiff in 1999. Lost the 2003 final at home in extra time to England and finished runners-up four years ago.
Player to watch: Samu Kerevi. Playing in the best form of his career, Kerevi's steamrolling bursts from inside centre have given the Wallabies the crucial platform to launch their attacks from. Promoted to vice-captain for the World Cup, his stunning performance in the record win over the All Blacks last month evoked memories of Jonah Lomu.
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga'a, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Izack Rodda, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese.
Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, James O'Connor, Jordan Petaia, Matt Toomua, Nic White.
Our prediction: 1st in the group
Best Finish: 3rd (1987)
Captain: Alun Wyn Jones
Coach: Warren Gatland
Betting: $11 to win the tournament, $1.70 to win the pool
History: Dominated northern hemisphere rugby in the 1970s but yet to make a World Cup final. Beat an uninterested Australia in the third place playoff at the inaugural World Cup but didn't make the semis again until 2011 when they were controversially beaten 9-8 by France after Sam Warburton was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
Player to watch: Alun Wyn Jones. The world's most capped lock, he led Wales to their first win over the Wallabies in a decade last year then was named the 2019 Six Nations player of the tournament after steering the Welsh to their first Grand Slam since 2012.
Forwards: Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Rhys Carre, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright
Backs: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin, Tomos Williams, Liam Williams
Our prediction: 2nd
Best Finish: Quarter-finals (1987, 2007)
Captain: Dominiko Waqaniburotu
Coach: John McKee
Betting: $501 to win the tournament, $41 to win the pool
History: Everyone's crowd favourites who have never managed to transform their success in sevens to the 15-man game, although they are a team every major nation wants to avoid because of their unorthodox attack and big tackling. Their most famous win was beating Wales 38-34 in 2007 with a late try from Graham Dewes to reach the quarters for the first time in two decades.
Player to watch: Semi Radradra. Former NRL star who was a try-scoring machine with the Parramatta Eels before switching to rugby. He has only played six rugby Tests so far but scored tries in three of them so can be expected to provide plenty of highlight reels in Japan.
Forwards: Campese Ma'afu, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Kalivati Tawake, Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto, Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt), Peceli Yato
Backs: Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henry Seniloli, Levani Botia, Jale Vatubua, Ben Volavola, Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova, Joshua Matavesi, Alivereti Veitokani, Kini Murimurivalu
Our prediction: 3rd
Best Finish: Pool stage
Captain: Merab Sharikadze
Coach: Milton Haig
Betting: $2501 to win the tournament, $1001 to win the pool
History: Qualified for the first time in 2003 and while they haven't made it past the pool phase they have been steady improvers, almost upsetting Ireland in 2007 and winning two of their four matches at the last World Cup.
Player to watch: Mamuka Gorgodze. Georgia's all-time leading tryscorer, he retired from Test rugby two years ago but was persuaded to make a comeback and play at his fourth World Cup. A fiery backrower, "Gorgodzilla" was named man of the match when Georgia took on New Zealand at the 2015 World Cup.
Forwards: Mikheil Nariashvili, Guram Gogichashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Jaba Bregvadze, Vano Karkadze, Levan Chilachava, Giorgi Melikidze, Beka Gigashvili, Giorgi Nemsadze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Mamuka Gorgodze, Kote Mikautadze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Lasha Lomidze, Otar Giorgadze, Beka Gorgadze, Beka Saghinadze
Backs: Sandro Todua, Soso Matiashvili, Mirian Modebadze, Zurab Dzneladze, Davit Katcharava, Merab Sharikadze (capt), Tamaz Mtchedlidze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Lasha Malaghuradze, Lasha Khmaladze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Giorgi Begadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Gela Aprasidze
Our prediction: 4th
Best Finish: Pool stage
Captain: Juan Manuel Gaminara
Coach: Esteban Meneses
Betting: $5,001 to win the tournament, $1,501 to win the pool
History: Playing at the World Cup for just the fourth time. Uruguay have won just two games before, against Spain in 1999 and Georgia in 2003. They were in Australia's pool in 2015 and were smashed 65-3 by the Wallabies.
Player to watch: Felipe Berchesi. Uruguay's playmaker and all-time leading point scorer, with 287 points from 32 test appearances.
Forwards: Facundo Gattas, Joaquín Jaunsolo, Mateo Sanguinetti, Germán Kessler, Guillermo Pujadas, Diego Arbelo, Juan Echeverría, Juan Pedro Rombys, Ignacio Dotti, Manuel Leindekar, Diego Magno, Franco Lamana, Manuel Ardao, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Diana, Juan Manuel Gaminara, Juan Diego Ormaechea, Alejandro Nieto
Backs: Agustín Ormaechea, Santiago Arata, Felipe Berchesi, Felipe Etcheverry, Juan Manuel Cat, Santiago Vilaseca, Agustín Della Corte, Tomás Inciarte, Federico Favaro, Nicolás Freitas, Leandro Leivas, Gastón Mieres, Rodrigo Silva.
Our prediction: 5th
Match dates: (AEST until Oct 6 when it becomes AEDT)
Saturday, September 21
AUSTRALIA v FIJI: 2.45pm at Sapporo Dome
Monday, September 23
WALES v GEORGIA: 8.15pm at City of Toyota Stadium
Wednesday, September 25
FIJI v URUGUAY: 3.15pm at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
Sunday, September 29
GEORGIA v URUGUAY: 3.15pm at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium
AUSTRALIA v WALES: 5.45pm at Tokyo Stadium
Thursday, October 3
GEORGIA v FIJI: 3.15pm at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka
Saturday, October 5
AUSTRALIA v URUGUAY: 3.15pm at Oita Stadium
Wednesday, October 9
WALES v FIJI: 8.45pm at Oita Stadium
Friday, October 11
AUSTRALIA v GEORGIA: 9.15pm at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa
Sunday, October 13
WALES v URUGUAY: 7.15pm at Kumamoto Stadium