Wallabies beef up for scrap with Wales

GEORGINA ROBINSON
Last updated 11:49 28/11/2012
Nick Phipps
Getty Images
BATTEN DOWN: The Wallabies are preparing for physical encounter with Wales.

Relevant offers

International

Beauden Barrett makes most of opportunity at No 10 Lions capable of putting bite on All Blacks in 2017: Gatland Dan Carter draws Lionel Messi comparisons in Spanish media France routs Argentina Pumas 27-0 to level series Spidercam incident leaves Wallabies coach Michael Cheika fuming Sobering stuff for Wallabies as media examine series sweep by England England complete 3-0 series sweep of Wallabies in Sydney try-fest New Zealand claim fifth at under-20 world rugby champs after win over Australia Springboks hold off Ireland 19-13 in third test to clinch series victory Georgina Robinson: Wallabies' World Cup hangover continues with series sweep

The Wallabies have three short days to hone their skills around the breakdown and muscle up in expectation of a Welsh onslaught after dubious showings against Italy and France.

Those two matches have given Wales all the ammunition they need to snap a seven-test losing streak against Australia and finish a horror year on a high.

Back-rower Aaron Shingler has already indicated the Welsh plan on ''bullying'' the Wallabies with aggressive play, while the side's attack coach, Rob Howley, targeted winning the collisions as a key priority.

''The way you put Southern Hemisphere sides under pressure is being very good in the contact area and the ability to keep ball and go through the phases,'' Howley said. ''Having looked at the tape on the weekend, our game and the [Australian] game, hopefully they won't have the similar line speed they did against Italy that they will have against us. A pleasing aspect of the game on Saturday against New Zealand was our depth and our ability to run hard.''

Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps said the Italians overpowered Australia at the breakdown and scored most of their points off turnover ball in the second half.

''I don't know what was going on with some of the boys or some of the decisions, but we just weren't strong enough over the breakdown, we gave them a real 'in' to the game and they were able to capitalise on that,'' Phipps said. ''We've got to be able to string phases together, it can't be one or two phases and turnover because that's when we get stung ... we need blokes absolutely blowing over the breakdown and leaving the ball on a platter so [Kurtley Beale] and [Adam Ashley-Cooper] and [Ben Tapuai] can work their magic out wide.''

Howley heaped praise on the Wallabies for the most unlikely of traits, calling them ''clinical'' and ''superb'' despite missing world-class players Will Genia and David Pocock.

''They're just a very talented side,'' he said. ''I think that they changed their game slightly over the last couple of weeks ... they are certainly very effective at set-piece, I thought their scrum went particularly well against England and they picked a very good side off in Italy and came off with a very narrow win.''

Four of Wales's past seven losses to Australia were by six points or less, with just one point in their last loss and two points in the test before that.

Ad Feedback

Howley said those results, as well as the past three losses at home to New Zealand, Samoa and Argentina, showed that Northern Hemisphere sides took time to adapt to the ''pace and intensity and accuracy'' of their southern hemisphere rivals.

''Whether you're the All Blacks or Australia - [and] we saw initially with Argentina, coming off that Rugby Championship - [you] benefit from that week to week intensity and pace, making decisions with less time on the ball, and the accuracy in the game,'' he said. ''Early on Saturday, we struggled with the pace and intensity - that was the feedback we had from our players - but as the game went on, when we got up to that pace and intensity, we felt comfortable.''

That final 20 minutes should sound warning bells for Australia. Wales turned the early dynamic on its head with 73 per cent possession in the second half and two tries off that base.

Echoing Phipps's comments, Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham said Australia needed to throw more resources at the breakdown. ''Maybe we need to commit to the wide breakdown a bit more when we're attacking down the sideline,'' he said

- Sydney Morning Herald

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the better Springboks lock?

Bakkies Botha

Victor Matfield

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content