WALES will be hoping for a change in fortune as they go head to head with the Wallabies on Saturday.
Warren Gatland’s side haven’t prevailed in the past 12 tests between the sides, the last victory coming during the 2008 Autumn Internationals when a late penalty, converted by Stephen Jones, was enough to confirm a famous victory at the Millennium Stadium. Alun Wyn Jones, is the only member of the current squad who played that day and will be looking to use that experience to drive his side onto victory this weekend.
Defence coach Shaun Edwards said: “We are pretty determined to beat Australia on Saturday.”
He does not underestimate the danger of this weekend’s visitors, however. “Australia are the most potent attacking force in World rugby. (They) have definitely had the edge on us over the years. Hopefully we will be stronger this time,” he said.
Ahead of the Test, Welsh forwards trained with England with a particular focus on scrummage, a topic that has come under much scrutiny in recent times.
“Apparently it went quite well,” said Edwards. “It shows the spirit of rugby that can put your hat on one side and do it for the greater good of northern hemisphere rugby.”
Wales don’t come into the Test injury-free as there are concerns over the fitness of Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb. Tipuric, the Osprey’s star flanker, is of particular concern given the recent bad luck that has been inflicted on the position. Josh Navidi is likely to start, with shock call-up Sam Cross handed a place on the bench.
Rhys Priestland may well have earned himself a starting place as well following a career resurgence at Bath this season. The fly-half has been on scintillating form recently, even giving his former employer the Scarlets a kicking masterclass as the Welsh side were booted from the Champions Cup by Priestland’s new side.
The Test is sure to be an interesting one as Wales’s new generation of players face the dangers from Down Under. Kick-off is at 5.15 pm.