Wallabies fans must be excited ahead of the must-win game against Wales – the clash in Lyon is the final act of eight games in an extended third gameweek.
Italy and Uruguay kick off early Thursday morning Australian time, while the game against Wales in Lyon starts at 5am AEST on Monday morning.
Aside from that game, this week’s blockbuster game sees two of the top favorites clash: Ireland and South Africa meet in Paris early Sunday morning (AEST).
The Wallabies will name their team on Friday evening Australian time and you can follow all the team updates here (squads are named two days before matchday).
Coach Eddie Jones will once again be without his two star strikers Will Skelton and Taniela Tupou as well as the troubled Jordan Uelese, but Tate McDermott will return to strengthen the defense.
There are also calls for Andrew Kellaway to be reinstated, with Carter Gordon under pressure to keep his place after he was tied up in the 50th minute against Fiji.
Italy v Uruguay, Stade de Nice, Nice (1.45pm Thursday AEST)
Italy coach Kieran Crowley has made four personnel changes to his starting XI from the team that beat Namibia 52-8 in the opening round, while also switching star full-back Ange Capuozzo from wing to full-back.
“You know what he does from 15 onwards. He’ll probably have more opportunities to keep the ball in his hands,” Crowley said. “But that only works if the guys up front do the job. All games start at the beginning.”
Marco Riccioni goes in the front row, Niccolò Cannone in the second row, Alessandro Garbisi in the scrum half and Lorenzo Pani on the wing. Tommaso Allan and Garbisi will be starting alongside each other at halfback for the third time, after last year against Georgia and this year against Romania.
Paolo Garbisi will start at inside center for the first time in his Test career.
Uruguay, who surprised many with their performance in their last game against France, have made two changes since the 27-12 defeat. The German Kessler comes into play as a hooker and Gaston Mieres comes on the wing. Mieres, who has scored 16 tries in 76 Tests, will be appearing in his third World Cup after playing every minute of the 2015 season and averaging 55 minutes in three appearances in 2019.
Italy (1-15): Danilo Fischetti, Giacomo Nicotera, Marco Riccioni, Niccolo Cannone, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro (c), Lorenzo Cannone, Alessandro Garbisi, Tommaso Allan, Montanna Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex, Lorenzo Pani, Ange Capuozzo.
Replacements: Luca Bigi, Federico Zani, Pietro Ceccarelli, Dino Lamb, Manuel Zuliani, Giovanni Pettinelli, Alessandro Fusco, Paolo Odogwu.
Uruguay (1-15): Mateo Sanguinetti, German Kessler, Ignacio Peculo, Felipe Aliaga, Manuel Leindekar, Manuel Ardao, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Diana, Santiago Arata, Felipe Etcheverry, Nicolas Freitas, Andres Vilaseca (c), Tomas Inciarte, Gaston Mieres, Baltazar Amaya.
Substitute: Guillermo Pujadas, Facundo Gattas, Diego Arbelo, Ignacio Dotti, Carlos Deus, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi, Bautista Basso.
France v Namibia, Stade de Marseille, Marseille (Friday, 5am AEST)
France coach Fabien Galthié has made 12 changes to his starting XI from the team that beat Uruguay in their last game, with only Cameron Woki, Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Anthony Jelonch retaining their places.
Ten players who started in the opening game of RWC 2023 against the All Blacks return to the starting XI, including five in defence, while Jonathan Danty is back after missing the first two games through injury.
France (1-15): Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Uini Atonio, Cameron Woki, Thibaud Flament, François Cros, Charles Ollivon, Anthony Jelonch, Antoine Dupont, Matthieu Jalibert, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Jonathan Danty, Gaël Fickou, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos.
Substitute: Pierre Bourgarit, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Boudehent, Baptiste Couilloud, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.
Argentina v Samoa, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne (Saturday, 1:45am AEST)
Georgia v Portugal, Stade de Toulouse, Toulouse (Saturday, 10pm AEST)
England v Chile, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (Sunday 1:45am AEST)
South Africa v Ireland, Stade de France, Saint-Denis (Sunday, 5am AEST)
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made 13 personnel changes and announced a 7-1 scoreline on the bench for the crucial game against Ireland.
The two players who retain their place in the replacement team are hooker Bongi Mbonambi and Damian Willemse, who moves from full-back to full-back.
“Ireland are a top-class team with a strong group of strikers and talented defenders and they play with a lot of pace. “So we know what we have to do to deliver a first-class performance so that things go our way,” said Nienaber.
“We played against them at the end of last year and have been keeping an eye on their performances this year so everyone knows what we have to do this weekend.
“We are fortunate to have a fit squad and have been building depth and versatility over a while and believe this is the best combination for this game. For many of these players, this is their second or third World Cup, so they know what it takes to perform at this level and we believe this team has the right mix of players to achieve what we do want to achieve in this game.
“We know it will be a tough game and we know we have to improve physically and mentally. We also have to start with intensity and stay focused until the final whistle.
“This is a massive game for both sides to get out of our pool, so we need to be extremely precise in all areas of our game.”
South Africa (1-15): Steven Kitshoff, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (c), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese, Faf de Klerk, Manie Libbok, Cheslin Kolbe, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian Willemse.
Substitute: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Cobus Reinach.
Scotland v Tonga, Stade de Nice, Nice (Monday, 1:45am AEST)
Wales vs Australia, OL Stadium, Lyon (Monday, 5am AEST)
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/09/20/rugby-world-cup-teams-week-3-italy-ace-has-role-shift-south-americans-restore-talisman-to-wing-and-what-does-eddie-do-next/ Big decisions for Wallabies coach Eddie Jones