How the Wallabies can still qualify for Rugby World Cup finals

Wed, Oct 4, 2023, 2:14 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies have a slim chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Photo: Getty Images
The Wallabies have a slim chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Photo: Getty Images

UPDATE: Fiji's 17-12 win over Georgia has left the Australians at long odds of qualifying.

The equation has been simplified: they need Fiji to lose by more than seven to Portugal next week after the Wallabies defeated 'Os Lobos' 34-14 in Saint Etienne.


EARLIER

The Wallabies are holding onto their slim World Cup aspirations as they hunt for maximum points against Portugal.

Back-to-back losses to Wales and Fiji have Eddie Jones' side staring at the potential of being the first Australian side to miss the finals.

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However, there is a chance of qualifying, albeit a tiny chance.

They sit on the same points as Fiji, who have a game in hand, with the Fijians currently ahead of them on head-to-head record.

Essentially this means the Wallabies need Fiji to drop one (or both) of their last two games against Georgia and Portugal and if they win a game, they can't get a bonus point whilst also needing to beat Portugal with a bonus point.

"It means everything. There’s still a mathematical chance of us playing finals, so everything’s on the line," flyhalf Ben Donaldson said.

"We need to get five points and we’re preparing as if that’s the case, we need to win with a bonus point, but then again it’s a Test match, nothing really changes in the way you prep.

"It’s a Test match, it's pretty easy to get up for your country, especially in these tough moments when we haven’t been performing that way we want to, everyone’s been gutted, the fans included, so it just gives us more incentive to get up for this game and play well."

Assistant coach Dan Palmer shared this view, quickly turning to focus after back-to-back tough defeats.

"We’ve still got a pulse in this competition, so getting up for this next game is not difficult," he said.

"We’ve refocused pretty quickly on what we need to do this week and focus on putting out a performance together against Portugal."

For players like Andrew Kellaway, Sunday's game in Saint-Etienne presents another chance to impress, having missed the opening two games.

"It’s a Test match to play for your country. It could be your last one," he added on this game after rejecting suggestions it could potentially be a dead rubber.

"The best way to turn it around [is realising] we have another game. It probably sounds like it’s a cliche and a bit stupid but it might be my last game, you never know. For me that was a big switch, in terms of looking back into game mode."

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