Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay contest Rugby World Cup Pool D, as Warren Gatland seeks a second Welsh victory over the Wallabies since 2008.

Runners-up and quarter-finalists four years ago respectively, Australia and Wales are likely to be battling it out for supremacy in Pool D – and both have ambitions of lifting the main prize in Yokohama on November 2. Both Fiji and Georgia will be out to cause upsets, though, with Uruguay completing the five-team pool.

Below we take a look at each nation’s 31-man squad, pick a key player to focus upon, analyse current form and bring you all of the pool’s fixtures…

POOL D

Wales

Dan Biggar is set to take on a more prominent role for Wales at the World Cup Dan Biggar is set to take on a more prominent role for Wales at the World Cup Dan Biggar is set to take on a more prominent role for Wales at the World Cup

Head coach: Warren Gatland

Captain: Alun Wyn Jones (128 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Semi-finals (1987, 2011)

Key player: Dan Biggar. An injury suffered in the first pre-World Cup Test against England which ruled Gareth Anscombe out of the tournament means the Northampton Saints fly-half will have to shoulder a lot more responsibility in Japan. That is unlikely to faze Biggar, who will be playing in his third Rugby World Cup, and the 73-cap veteran will be eager to silence those who believe Wales cannot lift the Webb Ellis Cup with him at fly-half.

Current form: Warren Gatland’s men followed up going unbeaten through the 2018 autumn internationals – including a 9-6 win over Pool D rivals Australia – with a memorable Six Nations triumph, which saw them complete their first Grand Slam for seven years. Wales then rebounded from a defeat to England at Twickenham in the first pre-World Cup Test with an impressive display in Cardiff to defeat the old enemy 13-6 and briefly move to No 1 in the world rankings. Back-to-back losses against Ireland followed, while a bombshell dropped in Japan when attack coach Rob Howley was sent home for alleged betting offences. Distractions aside, the squad will still believe they can do something special in Japan.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Rhys Carre, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs (13): Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams.

Fixtures:

Wales vs Georgia, Monday September 23 (11.15am)Australia vs Wales, Sunday September 29 (8.45am)Wales vs Fiji, Wednesday October 9 (10.45am)Wales vs Uruguay, Sunday October 13 (9.15am)

Australia

Australia captain Michael Hooper could be key to his side's chances Australia captain Michael Hooper could be key to his side's chances Australia captain Michael Hooper could be key to his side’s chances

Head coach: Michael Cheika

Captain: Michael Hooper (95 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Rugby World Cup winners (1991, 1999)

Key player: Michael Hooper. The Wallabies captain always leads from the front and his work at the breakdown will be vital in getting quick ball to allow them to make the most of the skill and speed their backs possess. With Lukhan Salakaia-Loto on the blindside and the influential David Pocock back in the squad after six months out with a calf injury, openside flanker Hooper and his fellow back-rowers will have a huge part to play in Australia’s chances of repeating their 2015 final appearance.

Current form: A dismal European tour at the end of 2018, which saw Australia’s only win in four matches come against Italy, increased the pressure on head coach Michael Cheika as the team continued to struggle to match the heights of 2015. Defeat to a much-changed South Africa team at the start of this year’s Rugby Championship did little to allay those critics, but a battling win over Argentina and a ruthless display to defeat 14-man New Zealand 47-26 gave signs of encouragement. The All Blacks got their revenge in the second Bledisloe Cup match, but the Wallabies head to Japan on the back of a 34-15 win over Samoa.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga’a, Michael Hooper (c), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese.

Backs (14): Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, James OConnor, Jordan Petaia, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

Fixtures:

Australia vs Fiji, Saturday September 21 (5.45am)Australia vs Wales, Sunday September 29 (8.45am)Australia vs Uruguay, Saturday October 5 (6.15am)Australia vs Georgia, Friday October 11 (11.15am)

Fiji

Semi Radradra has made a big impact on the Test scene for Fiji Semi Radradra has made a big impact on the Test scene for Fiji Semi Radradra has made a big impact on the Test scene for Fiji

Head coach: John McKee

Captain: Dominiko Waqaniburotu (46 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Quarter-finals (1987, 2007)

Key player: Semi Radrada. The cross-code back is set to make a bit of history for Fiji at the World Cup, having already appeared in the rugby league and sevens equivalents for his nation. Capable of playing at centre and out wide, the Bordeaux player has scored three tries in six appearance since making his Test bow for the Flying Fijians last year – including one in the memorable 21-14 win over France.

Current form: That victory against the French in Paris was one of two wins Fiji secured on their tour to Europe at the end of 2018, along with defeating Pool D opponents Uruguay at Hartpury. However, they suffered a 54-17 defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield. More recently, John McKee’s team finished second to World Cup hosts Japan in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, losing to them but beating Canada and regional rivals Samoa. The question is can they upset the pool’s Tier 1 nations and secure a third quarter-final appearance?

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Mesulame Dolokoto, Samuel Matavesi, Ratu Vere Vugakoto, Campese Ma’afu, Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo, Kalivati Tawake, Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (c), Peceli Yato.

Backs (14): Frank Lomani, Nikola Matawalu, Henry Seniloli, Levani Botia, Jale Vatubua, Ben Volavola, Vereniki Goneva, Filipo Nakosi, Waisea Nayacalevu, Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova, Joshua Matavesi, Alivereti Veitokani, Kini Murimurivalu.

Fixtures:

Australia vs Fiji, Saturday September 21 (5.45am)Fiji vs Uruguay, Wednesday September 25 (6.15am)Georgia vs Fiji, Thursday October 3 (6.15am)Wales vs Fiji, Wednesday October 9 (10.45am)

Georgia

Mamuka Gorgodze is one of the stars of Georgian rugby Mamuka Gorgodze is one of the stars of Georgian rugby Mamuka Gorgodze is one of the stars of Georgian rugby

Head coach: Milton Haig

Captain: Merab Sharikadze (63 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

Key player: Mamuka Gorgodze. A stalwart of the national team and an icon of Georgian rugby, the 35-year-old is set to make his fourth World Cup appearance. The No 8 is one the linchpins of the Lelos’ much-vaunted pack and his combative nature – sometimes a bit too combative, if his disciplinary record is anything to go by – makes Gorgodze a player to be both feared and respected by any opponent at both club level in France and on the international stage.

Current form: Georgia suffered a defeat to Italy but then secured wins over Tonga and Samoa in the 2018 autumn internationals. This year saw the Lelos once again sweep all before them in the European Championship, claiming the title for the 10th time in the past 12 seasons after going unbeaten through the tournament with wins over Romania, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Russia. Milton Haig’s side then finalised their World Cup preparations with back-to-back games against Scotland, including seeing 53,000 turn out to cheer them on as the Scots became the first Tier 1 nation to play Georgia in Tblisi. Both of those games ended in defeats, but the squad will be aiming to at least equal their previous best of two pool-stage wins in 2015.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Mikheil Nariashvili, Guram Gogichashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Jaba Bregvadze, Vano Karkadze, Levan Chilachava, Giorgi Melikidze, Beka Gigashvili, Giorgi Nemsadze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Mamuka Gorgodze, Kote Mikautadze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Lasha Lomidze, Otar Giorgadze, Beka Gorgadze, Beka Saghinadze.

Backs (14): Sandro Todua, Soso Matiashvili, Mirian Modebadze, Zurab Dzneladze, Davit Katcharava, Merab Sharikadze (c), Tamaz Mtchedlidze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Lasha Malaghuradze, Lasha Khmaladze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Giorgi Begadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Gela Aprasidze.

Fixtures:

Wales vs Georgia, Monday September 23 (11.15am)Georgia vs Uruguay, Sunday September 29 (6.15am)Georgia vs Fiji, Thursday October 3 (6.15am)Australia vs Georgia, Friday October 11 (11.15am)

Uruguay

Uruguay scrum-half Agustin Ormaechea is following his in his father's footsteps Uruguay scrum-half Agustin Ormaechea is following his in his father's footsteps Uruguay scrum-half Agustin Ormaechea is following his in his father’s footsteps

Head coach: Esteban Meneses

Captain: Juan Manuel Gaminara (67 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (1999, 2003, 2015)

Key player: Agustin Ormaechea. The 28-year-old is descended from perhaps the closest thing Uruguay has to rugby royalty, with his father Diego being regarded as the greatest player the country has ever produced. But while Ormaechea senior – who played at the 1999 World Cup aged 40 – plied his trade at No 8, Agustin is a wily scrum-half who has become just as much an established part of Los Teros’ set-up since making his debut in 2011.

Current form: Last year’s defeat to Fiji was followed up with a 27-20 win over Romania and Los Teros went on to finish second behind an Argentina XV in this year’s Americas Rugby Championship. The Argentinians were the only team to defeat Uruguay, with fellow World Cup qualifiers the USA and Canada beaten, along with Chile and Brazil. The team have had mixed results since then, including being beaten by Spain and being edged out 30-28 to another of the World Cup qualifiers, Namibia, prior to heading out to Japan.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): Facundo Gattas, Joaquin Jaunsolo, Mateo Sanguinetti, German Kessler, Guillermo Pujadas, Diego Arbelo, Juan Echeverría, Juan Pedro Rombys, Ignacio Dotti, Manuel Leindekar, Diego Magno, Franco Lamana, Manuel Ardao, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Diana, Juan Manuel Gaminara (c), Juan Diego Ormaechea, Alejandro Nieto