Rugby World Cup 2023 Week 4 preview, lineups, predictions

Wow, after a week of incredible Rugby World Cup rugby we’re heading towards the pointy end!

While most quarterfinal spots are all but locked in, results this week could have huge implications on who plays who in knock out rounds in two weeks time.

Read ahead for team lists and previews.

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2023: Squads | Schedule | Standings | Podcast | Injuries

Jump ahead to a particular game.

Uruguay vs. Namibia

Japan vs. Samoa

New Zealand vs. Italy

Argentina vs. Chile

Fiji vs. Georgia

Scotland vs. Romania

Australia vs. Portugal

South Africa vs. Tonga

Wednesday, September 27

Uruguay vs. Namibia, OL Stadium, Lyon (5:45p.m. local / 1:45a.m. AEST / 4:45p.m. GMT)

Uruguay: Baltazar Amaya, Bautista Basso, Felipe Arcos Perez, Andres Vilaseca, Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Etcheverry, Santiago Arata, Carlos Deus, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Felipe Aliaga, Diego Arbelo, German Kessler, Mateo Sanguinetti.

Replacements: Guillermo Pujadas, Facundo Gattas, Reinaldo Piussi, Juan Manuel Rodriguez, Eric Dosantos, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi, Juan Manuel Alonso

Namibia: Cliven Loubser, Gerswin Mouton, Alcino Izaacs, Danco Burger, JC Greyling, Tiaan Swanepoel, Damien Stevens, Richard Hardwick, Tjiuee Uanivi, Prince Gaoseb, Tiaan De Klerk, Adriaan Ludick, Johan Coetzee, Torsten Van Jaarsveld, Jason Benade.

Replacements: Louis van der Westhuizen, Desiderius Sethie, Haitembu Shifuka, PJ Van Lill, Max Katjijeko, Adriaan Booysen, Jacques Theron, Andre van der Bergh.

Verdict: The battle to avoid the wooden spoon in Pool A gets us going in week four of the Rugby World Cup, a match where Uruguay will start heavy favourites. After an impressive first-up showing against the tournament hosts, the South Americans put Italy under genuine stress last week before they lost their skipper to the sin-bin, and that proved the beginning of the end.

Namibia have meanwhile been much further off the pace and almost gave up the ton to France last week. It was a sorry night for the Africans, who lost skipper Jean Deysel to a red card for a dreadful tackle on French superstar Antoine Dupont, a hit that has cost the Namibia captain a five-week ban.

They will, however, have targeted this game as their best chance of an unlikely victory in what has become another sorry tournament for the Welwitschias. But it’s hard to see them getting within 15 points of the Uruguayans who are one of the developing rugby nations genuinely on an uphill curve.

Tip: Uruguay by 23.

Thursday, September 28

Japan vs. Samoa, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse (9p.m. local / 5a.m. AEST / 8p.m. GMT)

Japan: Lomano Lemeki, Kotaro Matsushima, Dylan Riley, Ryoto Nakamura, Jone Naikabula, Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, Amato Fakatava, Jack Cornelsen, Jiwon Gu, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: Atsushi Sakate, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Warner Dearns, Kanji Shimokawa, Naoto Saito, Seungsin Lee, Tomoki Osada.

Samoa: Duncan Paia’aua, Ed Fidow, Tumua Manu, Alai D’Angelo Leuila, Ben Lam, Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine, Sa Jordan Taufua, Fritz Lee, Taleni Seu, Theo McFarland, Chris Vui (co-captain), Paul Alo-Emile, Seilala Lam, James Lay.

Replacements: Sama Malolo, Jordan Lay, Michael Alaalatoa (co-captain), Steven Luatua, Alamanda Motuga, Melani Matavao, Neria Fomai, Danny Toala.

Verdict: This is a huge game in Pool D, with the loser’s campaign to be all but over and the winner taking a significant step towards a quarterfinal berth. The two sides only met recently as well, with Samoa emerging 24-22 after Japan veteran Michael Leitch was red-carded for a dangerous tackle.

Another tight encounter looms this time around, too, with both sides still hunting their best form in France, having shown fleeting instances of exactly what they’re capable of. Samoa need to improve their ball-handling after they shed an enormous amount of dropped ball last week, while Japan made plenty of breaks against England, but were unable to finish them off. Such is the closeness of these two teams, discipline will be vital with neither side good enough to keep opposition attacks at bay when they are down a man.

Samoa certainly have the edge in power, but you get the feeling the Brave Blossoms continuity of player might just get them across the line and into a huge final-weekend clash with the Pumas.

Tip: Japan by 3.

Friday, September 29

New Zealand vs. Italy, OL Stadium, Lyon (9p.m. local / 5a.m. AEST / 8p.m. GMT)

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea (captain), Dalton Papali’i, Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick , Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Replacements: Dane Coles, Tamaiti Williams, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Cam Roigard, Damian McKenzie, Anton Leinart-Brown

Italy: Tommaso Allan, Ange Capuozzo, Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Dino Lamb, Marco Riccioni , Giacomo Nicotera, Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: Hame Faiva, Ivan Nemer, Simone Ferrari, Niccolo Cannone, Manuel Zuliani, Toa Halafihi, Martin Page-Relo, Paolo Odogwu.

Verdict: The All Blacks are back in action after a week off, a week off that has done them the world of good as they have repeated a clean bill of health across the squad. Back come Shannon Frizell, Jordie Barrett and Sam Cane, with the regular skipper set to come off the bench alongside another returning forward Tyrel Lomax.

Italy, too, are buoyant after two impressive wins to start their campaign, but they the true test of their recent improvement under Kieran Crowley comes over the next week. The Azzurri have never made the World Cup knockout stage, but can do so with a win over New Zealand on Thursday night, a victory that would go down as one of the tournament’s alltime upsets.

Despite their recent improvement, it is still hard to see them recording what would be their first win over the All Blacks, too. Italy have some good periods of play in them, no doubt, and have certainly grown their attacking game under Crowley, but it is the need to play to a continually high intensity which they are yet to master. To beat New Zealand, even a New Zealand team that has lost two of its last three, teams cannot drop their intensity or physicality for a moment, as the three-time world champions still have the ability to sting opposition sides from anywhere.

Tip: New Zealand by 20.

Saturday, September 20

Argentina vs. Chile, Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes (3p.m. local / 11p.m. AEST / 2p.m. GMT)






Fiji vs. Georgia, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux (5:45p.m. local / 1:45a.m. AEST / 4:45p.m. GMT)







Scotland vs. Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEST / 8p.m. GMT)







Sunday, October 1

Australia vs. Portugal, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne (5:45p.m. local / 2:45am AEDT / 4:45p.m. GMT)







South Africa vs. Tonga, Stade de Marseille, Marseille (9p.m. local / 6a.m. AEDT / 8p.m. GMT)

South Africa:






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