Wales vs Fiji Prediction and Betting Tips
🏈 Rugby World Cup 2023 Match Preview
⏰ 11 September 2023 - 5:00 AEST
🏟 Stadium - Matmut Atlantique (Bordeaux)
Wales and Fiji will begin their 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) campaigns when they lock horns in Pool C at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on Sunday evening. It will be the 14th time the sides have met with Wales enjoying an 11-1 head-to-head lead (plus one draw), but Fiji’s sole victory over Wales came during the 2007 RWC in France and they come into this match in much stronger form.
It has been a tough 12 months on and off the field for Wales but coach Warren Gatland is hoping the various issues which have dogged the country are now behind them and they “can now completely focus on this World Cup”, starting with this clash with Fiji. But that is easier said than done for a team who have won only three of their last 15 matches and have been beaten by the likes of Italy and Georgia during this run.
However, coach Gatland has been there and done it all before and has previously taken Wales to two RWC semi-finals (2011, 2019) and a quarter final (2015). Welsh fans will be putting a huge amount of trust and hope in the ‘Gatland Factor’ and will be backing the coach, who has the sixth most experienced squad at this RWC, in terms of international caps, to produce the results once more.
In spite of good showings in the last three RWCs, the 2007 tournament was the most recent time that Wales have failed to progress from their pool and the omens are not great this time around with both Fiji and Australia, the two teams who finished in the top two places to eliminate them in 2007, drawn in their pool once again! Openside flanker Jac Morgan will captain the team in Bordeaux with co-captain Dewi Lake omitted from the 23-man squad due to not being fully recovered from injury. Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit will be the wingers as Wales target a sixth successive victory over Fiji.
The Flying Fijians arrive in Bordeaux after winning five of their last six games, with their only defeat coming against the hotly tipped hosts France. Their preparations hit a new high two weekends ago when they beat England for the first time, with a 30-22 victory at Twickenham, but they have been rocked this week by a knee injury sustained in training on Monday to fly-half Caleb Muntz who will now miss the entire tournament.
Head coach Simon Raiwalui called the injury “devastating for us as a group and for Caleb”, and with Muntz contributing half of Fiji’s points in the win over England, his absence can not be downplayed. Across the squad, it is an inexperienced group with 14 players set to make their RWC debuts across the tournament and only Samoa have a squad with a lower average number of international caps than Fiji. Whether this inexperience turns out to be a curse or a blessing will soon become apparent.
Fans of the South Pacific archipelago will point to their previous success here in France in 2007, the only time they have won three matches during one RWC finals, as a reason for optimism ahead of this RWC. Fiji also came into this tournament ranked seventh in the world, the highest of any side in their pool, although Raiwalui dismissed this as having any bearing on their chances in this competition earlier this week. That may well have been a management tool to take the pressure off his inexperienced group ahead of this opener.
📋 Players to watch: Josh Adams has excellent memories of the RWC after finishing as the leading try scorer four years ago in Japan. He finished that tournament with seven tries, three of which came against Fiji in a pool game! Vinaya Habosi was one of three try-scorers for Fiji at Twickenham a fortnight ago and the powerful winger comes into the tournament looking to make up for lost time after missing a chunk of 2023 through injury.
⚡ Hot stat:
- Wales have won their opening RWC fixture in seven of their nine campaigns experiencing defeat only in 1991 and 2011.
- This is the opening match for both teams in Pool C. The winner will take early control of the group.
- Wales and Fiji have met 13 times previously, with Wales winning 11 times and Fiji winning once. Their last meeting was in November 2018 when Wales won 38-17.
- Wales have not lost to Fiji since 2010. Their current winning streak against Fiji stands at 5 matches.
- This will be Warren Gatland's 3rd Rugby World Cup campaign as Wales coach. He has experience guiding Wales on the global stage.
- Fiji beat England 30-22 in their last match before the World Cup. However, they've lost key fly-half Caleb Muntz to injury.
- Wales have won just 3 of their last 15 matches in 2022-23. Their recent form has been poor.
- Wales winger Josh Adams was the top try-scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with 7 tries. He poses a big attacking threat.
- 14 Fiji players are set to make their Rugby World Cup debuts. They have a very inexperienced squad.
- The match is being played at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in France. Conditions may suit Fiji.
- Defensive solidarity will be key. The team who holds their nerve in a tight match could prevail.
💡 Match Prediction:
Even though Fiji came into this match in good form after beating England, I believe Wales' greater experience and the 'Gatland factor' will see them edge out a close win. The loss of fly-half Caleb Muntz is a big blow for Fiji. I'm backing Wales to win by around 12 points in a low scoring affair.
With both teams strong defensively, taking under 44.5 total points looks good value. Josh Adams is Wales' main attacking threat out wide and has a great Rugby World Cup try-scoring record, making him a solid bet to cross the line anytime. Overall, Wales to win a tight contest by 1-12 points appeals as the safest wager.
- Wales to win
- Wales by 12 points
- Final score: Wales 28 - Fiji 16
- Wales to win by 1-12 points margin at odds of $2.10
- Under 44.5 total match points at odds of $1.90
- Josh Adams (Wales) anytime tryscorer at odds of $1.80
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