Wales aim­ing to end los­ing streak

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - RUGBY - To­day Aus­tralia v Wales Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium, 5.15pm BBC 2

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 ).

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