Wales vs Fiji: how it could still all go wrong for Gatland

After the heroics of Twickenham, Wales cannot afford to slip up against Fiji as the pool of death lives up to its name

Warburton - Wales Rugby
(Image credit: Stu Forster/ Getty)

Wales face Fiji in the Rugby World Cup today knowing that a famous victory against England will count for naught if they come unstuck against the Pacific Islanders, who have a history of raining on Wales's parade.

Four days after the heroics at Twickenham, Warren Gatland's patched together squad reassembles at the Millennium Stadium and will be relying on fervent home support to carry them over the line against Fiji.

If a win is the minimum requirement, a bonus point victory will also be high on Gatland's agenda as Wales's final game is against Australia and that could turn out to be another crunch match.

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And while Wales look on course for a place in the quarter finals, Pool A has been dubbed the 'group of death' for good reason. Here's how it could still all unravel for Wales, even if they see off the Fijians.

As it stands:

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Row 0 - Cell 0 PWDLPts

Wales beat Fiji

A narrow win would put Wales top of the group, but without a bonus point they will be just seven points ahead of England and four ahead of Australia. Scoring four tries would not only bolster their points difference, it would also put them five clear of Australia, but it would offer no guarantee of qualification. Result: five points for Wales.

England beat Australia

This is the big one and the equation is simple: if Australia win then England are out of the World Cup and Wales are through. So there is no doubt which team will have the support in the Valleys, but England will not roll over. The nightmare scenario for Wales would be thriller in which both teams score four tries and England win by fewer than seven points. Result: five points for England, two points for Australia.

It would leave Wales still topping the group, but with their chances of making the last eight hanging by a thread as England and Australia would be breathing down their necks with 11 points apiece

Australia beat Wales

England face Uruguay in their final group game, so a bonus point win is almost guaranteed. That puts the pressure back onto Wales and Australia, who meet earlier in the day on 10 October, and history does not favour the Welsh. The teams have met 19 times this century, and Australia have won 16 of those meetings. Wales have just two wins to their name and the most recent was in 2008.

It would require another gargantuan effort from Wales if they are to overcome Australia, and surely it will be a bridge too far. Victory for Australia in that game would see them overhaul the Welsh and even a losing bonus point not be enough to keep Wales in the tournament on account of Australia's superior points difference. Result: five points for Australia, one point for Wales

How it could end:

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Row 0 - Cell 0 PWDLPts

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