Wales vs Australia Preview

5 11 2010

Watching Wales can frequently be a thankless task. Over the past few years they have several times flirted with becoming a genuine team of substance only to slip backwards into mediocrity once more. This has been particularly noticeable in games against the Southern Hemisphere sides who since 2005 have dominated the men in red. To be fair to Wales there have been several games where they have either been in touch or ahead at half time only to run out of puff in the last 30 minutes – something that sadly is too familiar a story for the powers up north.

As usual Warren Gatland has been his usual assertive and fiery self in press conferences although his confidence is belied by the casual observers objectivity of where this Welsh side are. Lowly finishes in the 6 Nations over the past couple of years have ensured that their development has not been quite what their fans may have expected. Nevertheless they remain an attractive side to watch; a pacey side; and, with some undoubted class sprinkled liberally throughout the team, Wales cannot be written off entirely.

The key for the Welsh is to play with the sort of commitment and pace seen from them only when the situation is hopeless – i.e. 15 points down with 5 minutes to go. In these situations it is possible to see what Welsh rugby could be and what is possible.

With Hook’s 6 Nations sojourn at outside centre coming to an end (he has been moved to full back after the injury to Lee Byrne) and Martyn Williams dropped to the bench, this Welsh side has a slightly experimental look to it. Hooks move in particular is one that we didn’t want to see as we felt he had excelled in the 13 channel earlier in the year. However it is understandable as there are few other options available to Gatland.

Saturday’s opponents Australia, fresh from a win over the mighty All Blacks, will feel though that the game is entirely in their hands. With the best Aussie scrum that perhaps we have seen over the past 10 years and pace, skill and precision in abundance out wide there should be too much in the armoury for Wales to handle. In last November’s game a first half try scoring blitz meant that Wales were never in the game and the Aussies will be looking for a similar start to kill of latent Welsh hopes of an upset.

Prediction: Wales 17-40 Australia

Look out for: A wide open and fast paced game. Wales to be in it at half time but to be blown away there after. Pocock to control the breakdown. Wales to come alive in the last few minutes when all is lost.




One response

5 11 2010

Time will tell but this Australian side has been hugely up and down the last few years – they lost to Scotland last year and I think this is going to be way closer than most people think, Aus to win but by only 4-5. Hope it’s an entertaining match anyway.

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