The daily tournament preview packs down with Rugby World Cup tips for the third quarter-final between steady Wales and unpredictable France.
18:15 (AEDT), Sun 20th Oct @ Oita Bank Dome, Oita
History: Played 97: Wales 50 V France 44 (3 Draws)
Last meeting: February 1, 2019: Wales 24 d France 19 at Stade de France
Final thoughts: Sunday’s first Rugby World Cup quarter-final sees Six Nations rivals Wales and France square off in an intriguing showdown.
Wales are aiming for just their third World Cup semi-final appearance. The inscrutable French have a comparatively outstanding RWC record, reaching the final four six times in eight tournaments. Both sides bombed out in the quarters in 2015.
France squeezed past Argentina 23-21 in a tense opener, before accounting for USA 33-9 and narrowly avoiding disaster in a 23-21 win over Tonga. Their marquee match-up with England was cancelled.
Wales went unbeaten through the group stage. They held off an Australian comeback in a 29-25 win, while they earned hard-fought victories against Georgia (43-14), Fiji (29-17) and Uruguay (35-13).
Wales have an excellent recent record against France, winning seven of the last eight Tests. After trailing 16-0, they carved out a 24-19 win in Paris during this year’s Six Nations – the fifth straight game between the nations decided by seven points or less.
The teams have only met once at a Rugby World Cup. France won a gripping semi-final 9-8 in 2011.
Wales are unlikely to win any prizes for attacking enterprise. But their dour game-plan does get results. France will attempt to open the game up, but without a run in two weeks after an unimpressive pool campaign it’s difficult seeing them getting past Warren Gatland’s charges.