Wal­la­bies out to sal­vage some pride

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - JU­LIAN GUYER

AUS­TRALIA will look to end a tough year on a winning note when they face Wales at the Mil­len­nium Sta­dium here to­day.

Al­though they re­main third in the world rank­ings, the Wal­la­bies have won just two of their past 10 Tests, al­beit one of those vic­to­ries was against South Africa, and come into this game on the back of their first loss to Scot­land in 27 years.

Ar­guably the most wor­ry­ing thing for Wal­laby coach Rob­bie Deans is that War­ren Gat­land, his Wales coun­ter­part, has been com­pli­men­tary about Aus­tralia.

“I’ve got a huge amount of re­spect for Rob­bie and what he’s achieved in rugby and Su­per 14 and the suc­cesses that he’s had,” Gat­land said.

“I think out of the three TriNa­tions teams, they (Aus­tralia) are the team that’s played the most rugby.

“They’ve got a very young side and they will gain a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence from this north­ern hemi­sphere tour. In two years’ time, I think you’ll see a re­ally strong Aus­tralian side.

“They’ve been cre­at­ing a lot. They haven’t been fin­ish­ing things off, but they do go out and try and play rugby.”

How­ever, Aus­tralia will have to im­prove their fin­ish­ing and com­po­sure af­ter dom­i­nat­ing ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion yet still los­ing 9-8 to Scot­land.

And a fur­ther worry for the Wal­la­bies is that Wales are set to pose a greater at­tack­ing threat than that of­fered by the Scots.

Nor­mally a record of two Test wins in 10 would have a coach wor­ried about his job prospects.

But Deans’s case is dif­fer­ent.

Aus­tralia Rugby Union boss John O’Neill in­vested so much of his rep­u­ta­tion in ap­point­ing Deans as the Wal­la­bies’ first for­eign coach 18 months ago that he is un­likely to ad­mit he’s made a mis­take.

For this match, Dean Mumm, who cap­tained the Wal­la­bies to a 31-3 thrash­ing of Cardiff Blues on Tues­day, has been re­warded with a place in the Test side.

He now has the tricky task of op­pos­ing gi­ant Wales lock Luke Char­teris in the li­ne­out af­ter rel­e­gat­ing Mark Chisholm to the bench.

Ro­ta­tion sees David Po­cock start at open­side flanker while in the backs Digby Ioane is at out­side cen­tre in­stead of Ryan Cross, af­ter a shoul­der in­jury forced his late with­drawal at Mur­ray­field.

Scrumhalf Will Ge­nia (knee), No 8 Wy­cliff Palu (neck) and loose­head prop Benn Robin­son (shoul­der) have all been passed fit. Kurt­ley Beale is on the bench af­ter scor­ing two tries against Cardiff and the 20-year-old util­ity back is now in line to win his first cap.

Wales cap­tain Ryan Jones will miss the Test be­cause of a back prob­lem. Andy Pow­ell will move across the back row to re­place Jones at No 8, with Dan Ly­di­ate pro­moted to the start­ing line-up at blind­side flanker.

The 21-year-old Ly­di­ate is re­placed on the bench by Sam War­bur­ton and Gethin Jenk­ins will as­sume cap­taincy of the team. – Sapa-AFP

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