Wales are aiming to make it back-to-back wins at the 2023 Rugby World Cup when they play Portugal on Saturday.
Warren Gatland’s side opened with a narrow victory over Fiji on matchday one, while their opponents are making their tournament return having last featured in 2007.
Wales vs Portugal Betting Tips
- Portugal +31 Handicap @ 10/11 with Sky Bet
- Leigh Halfpenny to score a try at anytime @ 7/4 with Bet365
- Highest scoring half: Second half @ 4/6 with BetUK
Damage limitation for Portugal
Back at the Rugby World Cup for the first time in over a decade-and-a-half, Portugal will be desperate to show they are not here simply to make up the numbers.
Nevertheless, you would fully expect Wales to record the victory here without too many difficulties.
Having said that, it has been difficult to know what to expect from Warren Gatland’s side, who arrived in France off the back of a difficult spell of form.
And with inconsistencies on and off the field, it is hard to fully back them to make the handicap.
Halfpenny to mark historic day
One of many changes made by Gatland, Halfpenny is set to appear in his third Rugby World Cup, having also worn the red jersey on the biggest stage in 2011 and 2019.
The veteran full-back has only played 15 of his country’s 43 Tests since the start of 2020, while featuring for just 165 minutes this year.
Nevertheless, Halfpenny will be desperate to grab his opportunity with both hands here.
Aged 34 years, eight months and 26 days, he is set to become the oldest backline player to represent Wales in a Rugby World Cup game — surpassing the great Shane Williams by exactly one month.
Wales to gradually gain comfort
Although they started with victory over Fiji, the manner in which it was achieved will have been slightly concerning for Wales.
Indeed, their opponents managed to reduce the deficit to just six points, and things could have got much worse at the death but for the most untimely of knock-ons.
Gatland has named a much-changed starting XV this time around, so you would expect his players to take a little bit of time to settle and find their rhythm.
However, it is hard to see them not getting there eventually. And once they click, the Welsh should end up sweeping their opponents aside here.
Wales vs Portugal team news
Gatland has made 13 changes from Wales’ victory over Fiji, with Faletau and Rees-Zammit the only survivors.
Tomos Williams earns his 50th Test cap at scrum-half, while there are four World Cup debutants in the starting XV.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, Mason Grady, Johnny Williams, Rio Dyer, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Nicky Smith, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis, Christ Tshiunza, Dafydd Jenkins, Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell, Taulape Faletau.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Taine Basham, Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow, Josh Adams.
Unsurprisingly, in their country’s first such match for 16 years, every player in Portugal’s matchday squad is set for their World Cup bows.
Although, 19 members of the squad were involved in the qualification-clinching draw with USA last November.
Meanwhile, fly-half Jeronimo Portela’s father Miguel was part of the squad in 2007, featuring against New Zealand, Scotland and Romania.
Portugal: Nuno Sousa Guedes, Vincent Pinto, Jose Lima, Tomas Appleton, Rodrigo Marta, Jeronimo Portela, Samuel Marques; Francisco Fernandes, Mike Tadjer, Anthony Alves, Jose Madeira, Steevy Cerqueira, Joao Granate, Nicolas Martins, Rafael Simoes.
Replacements: David Costa, Lionel Campergue, Diogo Hasse Ferreira, Martim Belo, David Wallis, Pedro Lucas, Joris Moura, Raffaele Storti.