Wales aiming to end losing streak
Wales are determined to begin a two-year World Cup countdown by ending their dismal run of defeats against Australia. The countries will square up as 2019 World Cup pool rivals in Japan, and Australia currently boast a 12-Test winning sequence that began eight years ago.
A new-look team – one that contains three home Test debutants in wing Steff Evans, centre Owen Williams and flanker Josh Navidi – is charged with starting to redress the balance as they take on Australia minus injured British and Irish Lions Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb and George North.
“Two years away (to the World Cup) is a bit far away to be looking,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Robin McBryde said. “However, it is always nice to win. We want to get that scalp we have been looking for. We know we have not got a great record against Australia, so the more times we get to improve on that record before the World Cup, the better it will be.
“We need to be clinical and bring that edge about us. I am not happy to just rely on a good performance. We need to get that result to get that next step forward.”
While much has been made of Wales’ fresh approach of fielding two midfield playmakers in Williams and outhalf Dan Biggar, they also know the basic set-piece rudiments have to be right.
If Wales beat Australia, it would also end a 15-year period of losing their opening autumn Test. “I wouldn’t say we have done anything specifically different,” McBryde said. “There has just been a different feel in the squad because of the number of new faces.
WALES: L Half penny; L Williams, J Davies, O Williams, SE vans; D Big gar, G Davies; RE vans, K Owens, T Francis, J Ball, AW Jones( ca pt ), A Shingler, T Fa let au, J Na vi di. Replacements: K Dacey, N Smith, L Brown, CH ill, SC ross, A Davies, O Wat kin, H Amos. AUSTRALIA: K Beale; MK o roi bete,TK uri dr a ni, SK er evi,R Hodge; B Foley, W Gen ia; SS io, T Polo ta-N au, SKepu,R Simmons, A Coleman, NH a ni gan, M Hooper( ca pt ), S McMahon. Replacements: S Moore, T Robertson, A Ala ala to a, M Philip, BM cC al man, N Phipps, K Hunt, H Speight. Referee: Glen Jackson( New Zealand ).