Australia’s defeat by Fiji has blown Pool C wide open, but the contest between Wales and the Wallabies will offer some clarity.
Wales are four points clear at the top of the pool and will qualify for the quarter-finals if they win their remaining two games, against Australia and Georgia. They could afford to draw or lose one of the games and still progress.
The problems for Wales will mount up if Australia beat them with a bonus point and Warren Gatland’s side do not pick up a bonus point (for scoring four tries or losing by less than seven points). If that happens, then Wales will be reliant on results going their way in the final round of pool games.
When is it?
This is the last game of the third weekend of the World Cup. Kick-off is at 8pm UK time (9pm local time) on Sunday night. That’s Sunday 24 September.
How to watch on TV
ITV have the broadcast rights to every match at the World Cup. In the UK, this one is on ITV1. You can read our full guide to the tournament’s TV coverage, plus a ranking of the best pundits and commentators working in the sport.
Where is it?
Debuting in January 2016, the OL Stadium in Lyon has a capacity of 58,883 and is the home of Olympique Lyonnais football team. Since opening it has hosted a series of international events, including rugby.
The OL Stadium had been open for only four months when the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals were played at the new stadium. In November 2017, New Zealand defeated France in front of 58,607 fans there. At the end of that season, the OL Stadium was chosen as the venue for the Top 14 semi-finals.
This stadium also hosted the men’s Euro 2016 football tournament and the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2019, but the city has always had a rich rugby pedigree. Wales and Australia are scheduled to line up in this year’s first World Cup matchin Lyon.
Who is the referee?
Wayne Barnes, an Englishman, is in charge.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets were still available as of Thursday, September 21. To see options visit the tournament’s official ticketing website.
What is the team news?
Wales and Australia will announce their teams later this week.
What is the recent history between the teams?
When it comes to World Cup action, Wales and Australia are familiar rivals, having played each other seven times.
And while Australia lead that particular series 4-3, Wales have won three of the last four in all competitions.
What are their pool matches and results?
play Australia on Sunday 24 September
play Georgia on Saturday 7 October
play Wales on Sunday 24 September
play Portugal on Sunday 1 October
What are the odds?
Australia to win: 10/11
Wales to win: evens
Wales wary of ‘wounded animal’ Australia
Wales assistant coach Jonathan Thomas has described Australia as “a wounded animal” ahead of Sunday’s match that could see the Wallabies make unwanted history.
Eddie Jones’s team are teetering on the edge of a World Cup pool stage exit for the first time.
If Wales beat them in Lyon, then their quarter-final hopes will be over.
“We respect Australia as a rugby nation. They are a wounded animal, they can be dangerous,” said Thomas.
Wales will start as favourites having collected a maximum 10 points from their first two Pool C games.
Their centre George North said: “I’ve been to quite a few World Cups now, and to get early results is good but it is a massive game that we have to go and win on Sunday.
“It [qualifying on Sunday] would be a little weight off the shoulders. The boys are really chomping at the bit.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s team selection looks unlikely to deviate far, if it all, from the one that defeated Fiji in Bordeaux 10 days ago.
He could, though, decide on naming two specialist openside flankers in the back row, with Jac Morgan and Tommy Reffell starting alongside No 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Meanwhile, Australia scrum-half Tate McDermott said there was a brutally honest talk among the players following the loss to the Fijians.
“The leadership group took the boys aside and we had a couple of honest admissions, around boys putting their hand up and [saying] ‘That’s not what we stand for, that’s not good enough,’” McDermott said. “The honesty in the group was awesome to see because, yeah, it was a tough watch and we had to call that out.”