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This weekend, four RWC games dominate the schedule, some for possible quarterfinal advancement, others for pool title and, finally, some for pool placement that might guarantee a trip to RWC Japan 2019.
Here are the past twenty-years outcomes on these important matches:
Italy vs. Romania, Sunday
The Azzurri are 5-1 against Romania, that one defeat occurred in Bucharest in 2004. The teams have not played each other since 2007. Both teams stand 1-2 and the winner will be 2-2 to assume a third place finish plus a trip to Japan.
Wales vs. Australia, Saturday
Since 1995, the Wallabies have dominated at 19-2-1 in 22 games. And they have won the last ten but by the slimmest of margins in the past five: 3,4,2,1,2. The winner takes the Pool A title to play the runner-up in Pool B.
Scotland vs. Samoa, Saturday
The Scots hold a 6-1-1 record against Samoa but lost the last contest in Durban two-years ago. Samoa have had a poor RWC result, and a last game win would restore some national rugby pride from the unexpectedly poor showing in the past two-years' Sevens circuit where they did not finish in the top six placements.
USA vs. Japan, Sunday
The tally stands at 8-8, marked by the USA's 23-18 win last July. Yet, it seems, a new Japanese XV has arrived at this RWC. If Samoa beat Scotland, and Japan defeat the USA, the Brave Blossoms at 3-1 would move into the quarterfinals.
(This match televised by Universal Sports, Sunday, October 11, at 2:30 p.m. ET.)