Rugby World Cup 2023 Week 5 preview, lineups, predictions

Will Eddie coach the Wallabies beyond the World Cup? (3:49)

The ESPN Scrum Reset discuss Eddie Jones' future as Wallabies coach and whether reports are enough to suggest he will pack it in and head for Japan. (3:49)

It's our final week of pool play, while some quarterfinal spots are locked in, there's still plenty of jockeying and shuffling left to determine who plays who in the knock out stages.

Read ahead for team lists and previews.

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Jump ahead to a particular game.

New Zealand vs. Uruguay

France vs. Italy

Wales vs. Georgia

England vs. Samoa

Ireland vs. Scotland

Japan vs. Argentina

Tonga vs. Romania

Fiji vs. Portugal

Thursday, October 5

New Zealand vs. Uruguay, OL Stadium, Lyon (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEDT / 8p.m. GMT)

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Anton Leinart-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Richie Mo'unga, Cam Roigard, Luke Jacobson, Sam Cane (captain), Shannon Frizell, Tupou Vaa'i, Sam Whitelock, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clarke.

Uruguay: Rodrigo Silva, Gaston Mieres, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (captain), Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Etcheverry, Santiago Arata, Manuel Diana, Lucas Bianchi, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Ignacio Dotti, Diego Arbelo, German Kessler, Mateo Sanguinetti.

Replacements: Guillermo Pujadas, Matias Benitez, Ignacio Peculo, Juan Manuel Rodriguez, Santiago Civetta, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi, Juan Manuel Alonso.

Verdict: The All Blacks were in a menacing mood last week against Italy, running up an incredible 96-17 win that included some of the most devastating rugby of the tournament to date. New Zealand's mix of speed, power, skill and daring combined to eviscerate the Azzurri and bring the Lyon crowd to its feet in the process.

More of the same should be expected here, even though the All Blacks aren't quite at full strength. Damian McKenzie, Anton-Leinert Brown, Leicester Fainga'anuku and Cam Roygard have all earned a start in the backs, while regular skipper Sam Cane returns to lead the site at No. 7 as No. 8 Ardie Savea gets a well-earned week off before the quarterfinals. Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa'i, Sam Whitelock and Tyrel Lomax are the other new faces in the run-on side.

Uruguay play a similar style of game to Italy, in that they are keen to use the ball and play with width. But any mistake will leave them incredibly vulnerable on the counter and another big score is inbound.

Tip: New Zealand by 70

Friday, October 6

France vs. Italy, OL Stadium, Lyon (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEDT / 8p.m. GMT)

France: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Matthieu Jalibert, Maxime Lucu, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt, Anthony Jelonch, Thibaud Flament, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, 2- Peato Mauvaka, Cyril Baille.

Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Baptiste Couilloud, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet

Italy: Ange Capuozzo, Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Paolo Garbisi, Montanna Ioane, Tommaso Allan,Stephen Varney, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Niccolo Cannone, Pietro Ceccarelli, Hame Faiva, Simone Ferrari

Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, David Sisi, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Fusco, Luca Morisi, Lorenzo Pani.

Verdict: At first glance, it's very hard to see anything other than a commanding France win. Even without the recovering Antoine Dupont, France should have far too much for the Azzurri, who will still be picking up the pieces from their absolute trouncing at the hands of the All Blacks. But then you factor in the importance of this match and the strange things World Cups do. If Italy win by seven points or more, it'll knock the hosts out of their own competition.

So Les Bleus are leaving nothing to chance with Maxime Lucu starting in place of Dupon, Gregory Alldritt into the back-row in place of Francois Cros, and Louis Bielle-Biarrey starting instead of Gabin Villiere. Charles Ollivon captains the side.

Italy have changed five: Simone Ferrari, Epalahame Faiva and Pietro Ceccarelli form the front row, while Niccolò Cannone returns to the second row. Tommaso Allan moves back to fly-half, Paolo Garbisi starts at No.12, and Ange Capuozzo moves to fullback.

Tip: France by 17

Saturday, October 7

Wales vs. Georgia, Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes (3p.m. local / 12am AEDT / 2p.m. GMT)

Wales: Liam Williams, Louis Rees Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams, Taulupe Faletau, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainwright, Defydd Jenkins, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Henry Thomas, Christ Tshiunza, Taine Basham, Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow, Mason Grady.

Georgia: Lasha Khmaladze, Akaki Tabutsadze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Merab Sharikadze (c), Davit Niniashvili, Luka Matkava, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Guram Gogichashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Beka Gigashvili, Nodar Cheishvili, Konstantine Mikautadze, Mikheil Gachechiladze, Beka Saginadze, Tornike Jalagonia.

Replacements: Vano Karkadze, Nika Abuladze, Irakli Aptsiauri, Vladimer Chachanidze, Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Gela Aprasidze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Demur Tapladze.

Verdict: Wales need just a point from this match in Nantes on Saturday to top Pool C while Georgia are already out of the competition.

Warren Gatland went early with Wales' team announcement on Monday but it showed six changes from the one that swiped aside Australia in the last round. Dewi Lake captains the side from hooker, Gareth Anscombe's in for the injured Dan Biggar at fly-half alongside Tomas Williams, Dafydd Jenkins is in the second-row, Tommy Reffell starts at openside flanker, while Rio Dyer gets the nod on the wing.

For Georgia, Guram Gogichashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili and Nodar Cheishvili start in the pack while Merab Sharikadze is at centre and fullback Lasha Khmaladze makes his first appearance at the World Cup.

Wales come into this with a perfect three from three record while for Georgia, it's a chance to leave a mark on the tournament.

Tip: Wales by 25

England vs. Samoa, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (5:45p.m. local / 2:45a.m. AEDT / 4:45p.m. GMT)

England: Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ben Earl, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje, Dan Cole, Jamie George, Ellis Genge.

Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Martin, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence.

Samoa: Duncan Paia'aua, Nigel Ah-Wong, Tumua Manu, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai, Lima Sopoaga, Jonathan Taumateine; Steven Luatua, Fritz Lee, Theo McFarland, Brian Alainu'u'ese, Sam Slade, Michael Alaalatoa (captain), Sama Malolo, Jordan Lay.

Replacements: Seilala Lam, James Lay, Paul Alo-Emile, Sootala Fa'aso'o, Alamanda Motuga, Melani Matavao, Christian Leali'ifano, Miracle Faiilagi

Verdict: Both teams already know their World Cup fates with England topping the group and Samoa out of the tournament, but expect this to be a full-throttle encounter in Lille on Saturday.

England have reunited the George Ford and Owen Farrell at fly-half and inside centre respectively, while Joe Marchant starts on the wing and Manu Tuilagi is in at centre where he'll face the land of his birth for the first time at Test level. In the pack Tom Curry is back at openside flanker, where he lines up alongside Courtney Lawes and Ben Earl. Marcus Smith is named on the bench with Ollie Lawrence, but there's no place in the squad for Henry Arundell who scored five tries against Chile last time out.

Samoa have made nine changes with Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua, Jonathan Taumateine, Tumua Manu and Duncan Paia'aua retaining their places. There's an all-new front-row of Jordan Lay, Sama Malolo and captain Michael Alaalatoa and a fresh second-row of Sam Slade and Brian Alainu'u'ese. Their World Cup is over but with Lima Sopaga at 10, expect them to cause England all sorts of trouble.

Tip: England by 24

Ireland vs. Scotland, Stade de France, Saint-Denis (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEDT / 8p.m. GMT)

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, David Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Stuart McCloskey.

Scotland: Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Jack Dempsey, Rory Darge, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Zander Fagerson, George Turner, Pierre Schoeman.

Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Luke Crosbie, George Horne, Ollie Smith

Verdict: The game of the weekend will prove the definitive match of Pool B, deciding who advances to the quarterfinals. Having knocked off the Springboks a fortnight ago, Ireland have one foot in the knockout stage, and top spot from Pool B to boot, but they also know that a first loss to the Scots in nine games could see them miss out altogether. If Ireland were to lose and not secure a bonus point, then it will be Andy Farrell's side who are going home; there are also a number of other scenarios at play, which you can delve into here.

But such was their victory over the Springboks, and their brilliant form of the past two years, that Ireland will start deserved favourites for this Stade de France clash. They will also be playing for veteran flanker Peter O'Mahony, who will bring up his 100th Test cap.

The Scots, meanwhile, know the scope of the challenge they face; the last two Six Nations clashes have been won easily by Andy Farrell's side, this year's victory secured with only 14 men for over a half of rugby. Coach Gregor Townsend has welcomed back star men Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Jack Dempsey and Jamie Ritchie after they sat out the training run against Romania, so there will be at least some fresh legs to mix it with the Irish, who had the Week 4 bye.

But one simply cannot look past the Irish, who are playing too well and are too in sync with one another right across the paddock, to lose this one. Scotland are a worthy foe, but it is going to take something truly special if they are to spring an upset here.

Tip: Ireland by 10.

Sunday, October 8

Japan vs. Argentina, Stade de la Beajoire, Nantes (1p.m. local / 9p.m. AEDT / 3p.m. GMT)

Japan: Lomano Lemeki, Kotaro Matsushima, Ryoto Nakamarua, Dylan Riley, Siosaia Fifita, Rikiya Matsuda, Naoto Saito; Kazuki Himeno (capt), Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, Amato Fakatava, Jack Cornelsen, Jiwon Gu, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: Atsushi Sakate, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Warner Dearns, Amanaki Saumaki, Yutaka Nagare, Ryohei Yamanaka, Jone Naikabula.

Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (captain), Thomas Gallo.

Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Pedro Rubiolo, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Nicolas Sanchez, Matías Moroni

Verdict: Second spot in Pool D and a quarterfinal against Wales goes on the line in Nantes, as Japan and Argentina clash in a winner-takes-all showdown. Both teams have been nowhere near their best so far in France, only showing glimpses of what they can do when things go right.

This game will be a clash of styles as Argentina attempt to slow things down and starve Japan of the quick-recycle ball that is the hallmark of their game, with Pumas have several excellent breakdown on-ballers in skipper Juan Montoya and back-rowers Marcos Kremer and Pablo Matera.

Crucially, those three players are all coming off a week's rest, so they will be primed for action, as will fly-half Santiago Carreras who came off the bench in the big win over Chile.

If Japan get the quick ball they are after, then they may well force Argentina into some ill-discipline, which has long been an issue for Michael Cheika's side. But you get the feeling the big-game experience in the Pumas' line-up will come to the fore and it will be them progressing to the quarterfinals alongside England in Pool D.

Tip: Argentina by 8.

Tonga vs. Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (5:45p.m. local / 2:45a.m. AEDT / 4:45p.m. GMT)

Tonga: Charles Piutau, Solomone Kata, George Moala, Pita Ahki, Afusipa Taumoepeau, William Havili, Sonatane Takulua; Sione Vailanu, Sione Talitui, Semisi Paea, Adam Coleman, Leva Fifita, Ben Tameifuna, Paula Ngauamo,Siegfried Fisi'ihoi.

Replacements: Sione Anga'aelangi, Paula Latu, Siate Tokolahi, Steve Mafi, Penitoa Finau, Manusiu Paea, Patrick Pellegrini, Kyren Taumoefolau

Romania: Marius Simionescu, Nicholas Onutu, Tevita Manumua, Fonovai Tangimana, Taliauli Sikuea, Alin Conache, Florin Surugiu, Andre Gorin, Cristi Boboc, Vlad Neculau, Marius Iftimiciuc, Adrian Motoc, Alexandru Gordas, Ovidiu Cojocaru (captain), Alexandru Savin.

Replacements: Robert Irimescu, Iulian Hartig, Costel Burtila, Florian Rosu, Damian Stratila, Gabriel Rupanu, Alexandru Bucur, Mihai Graure.

Verdict: After three brutal games each against three of the world's top five sides, Tonga and Romania clash finally meet in the game both sides will have earmarked when their ridiculously tough draw came out. Certainly Tonga have been far more competitive than Romania, who have managed only one try in their three pool games so far, and been "nilled" in each of their last two matches.

Tonga, meanwhile, have been getting progressively better and are the classic case of Tier 2 nations needed an increase in fixtures with Tier 1 nations between World Cups. They have scored some excellent tries against each of Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, and were only seven points adrift of the Scots early in the second half; but they have not been able to sustain their better periods of play and have also been hamstrung by their discipline.

Coach Toutai Kefu has however regained one key strike weapon for this clash, with centre George Moala having now served his five-week ban and been rushed straight into the midfield. While Malakai Fekitoa is out of the side, the Tongans will still field a mighty backline that will cause plenty of problems for the hapless Romanians with their power speed.

Romania will likely add to their try-scoring ledger, but it's hard to see them seriously worrying Tonga who will be desperate to round out a disappointing campaign with a win, and to send a message to World Rugby administrators in the process.

Tip: Tonga by 22.

Fiji vs. Portugal, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEDT / 8p.m. UK)

Fiji: Sireli Maqala, Selesitino Ravutaumada, Waisea Nayacalevu (c), Josua Tuisova, Vinaya Habosi, Vilimoni Botitu, Frank Lomani; Viliame Mata, Levani Botia, Meli Derenalagi, Temo Mayanavanua, Isoa Nasilasila, Luke Tagi, Samuel Matavesi, Eroni Mawi.

Replacements: Tevita Ikanivere, Peni Ravai, Mesake Doge, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Albert Tuisue, Peni Matawalu, Teti Tela, Iosefo Masi

Portugal: Manuel Cardoso Pinto, Raffaele Storti, Pedro Bettencourt, Pedro Bettencourt, Jose Lima (capt.), Rodrigo Marta, Jeronimo Portela, Samuel Marques; Rafael Simoes, Nicolas Martins, David Wallis, Steevy Cerqueira, Jose Madeira Diogo Hasse Ferreira, Mike Tadjer, Francisco Fernandes.

Replacements: David Costa, Duarte Diniz, Anthony Alves, Duarte Torgal, João Granate, Joao Belo, Tomas Appleton, Vincent Pinto.

Verdict: On the cusp of their first quarterfinal appearance since 2007, Fiji have one final assignment to knock over before they prepare for a likely showdown with England, whom they conquered in August for the first time, in the knockout phase. On paper, the Portuguese don't look like the toughest of opposition, but they showed enough against Australia and Wales to have the Fijians focused squarely on this clash in Toulouse.

East of there are the Wallabies, who will be hoping that Os Lobos can spring one of the all-time upsets; not only that, but also that they deny Simon Raiwalui's team a bonus point of any kind in the process.

That seems unlikely, and so does the thought of a Portuguese upset. The Fijians have more power in their game than the Australians and that will likely wear down Os Lobos the longer the match goes. The only real way Fiji might get themselves into a spot of bother will be if they go down a man, or even two, just as Australia did last week.

But the calming presence of Raiwalui, who has done a superb job with this Fijian side, suggests that even if they are thrown a curve ball or two, Fiji have the experience and game nous to work their way out of it. It's curtains for the Wallabies.

Tip: Fiji by 15