RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday September 20, 11.30pm
Wales know how difficult the task at hand is to qualify from a pool where they are partnered with heavyweights England and Australia, both of whom they have a poor recent record against, and a Fijian side that beat them at this stage in 2007. Many feel that they are most likely to be the unlucky losers from the ‘group of death’ and that is reflected in odds of 2.54 to qualify compared to Australia at 1.5 and England at 1.19. They kick off their campaign against likely pool whipping boys Uruguay and Warren Gatland will see this as an opportunity to test new combinations following the injuries to Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb before they take on England at Twickenham next weekend.
Meanwhile for Uruguay, who are playing in their first World Cup since 2003 after beating Russia to qualify, it is a chance to see if they are on the right development course and an opportunity to challenge themselves against three elite rugby playing nations.
This will be the first ever clash between these two nations and given that neither country has played opposition of a similar ilk in the build up to this tournament going on recent form is not a good guide. Instead for Wales, more appropriate is to see how they performed against the likes of Canada, Japan and Namibia in the last two World Cups. Wales scored 42, 72 and 81 points against these nations respectively but on all occasions they scored more points in the second half. Over the three games they averaged 20 points in the first half and 45 in the second, scoring at least 34 points in each second half. In their final day Six Nations clash against Italy Wales accelerated from 14-13 at the break to 61-20 at full-time. At just 1.62 for the second 40 minutes being the highest scoring half we feel there is more value in a Wales covering the handicap.
Uruguay haven’t played opposition this strong since the 2003 World Cup where they were subject to three heavy defeats from South Africa, Samoa and England. On two occasions they conceded more points in the second half than the first and in the other an equal amount. Over the three fixtures they had an overall first half point difference of -90 and a second half point difference of -121. Uruguay suffered a mauling at the hands of Japan in their warm-up and they are one of the weakest teams in the entire tournament.
Wales have won eight of their last 11 matches.
In the last two World Cups Wales have averaged a 51 point winning margin in three fixtures against minnows. They average 20 points in the first half and 45 in the second half.
In 2011 Wales reached the Semi-finals for the first time since 1987
Wales and Uruguay have never met before
Uruguay have only won one in their last eight and that was against Argentina A
Uruguay are playing in their first World Cup since 2003