‘DON’T GIVE THEM A FLY­ING START’

South Wales Evening Post - - SPORT -

WALES cap­tain Alun Wyn Jones has un­der­lined the im­por­tance of shut­ting down Aus­tralian mo­men­tum in to­day’s Un­der Ar­mour Se­ries clash.

The Wal­la­bies have been on a roll against Wales since 2008, win­ning 13 suc­ces­sive Tests.

Jones is the only start­ing XV sur­vivor this week­end from Wales’s 21-18 vic­tory 10 years ago, when tries by Shane Wil­liams and Lee Byrne left Aus­tralia reel­ing.

But the Wal­la­bies have tri­umphed on ev­ery sub­se­quent oc­ca­sion, al­though Jones did taste suc­cess twice against them in 2013 while wear­ing a dif­fer­ent red shirt – that of the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions.

“You know Aus­tralia are al­ways go­ing to at­tack from any­where,” he said, ahead of the lat­est Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium meet­ing.

“With the play­ers they have, they can spark up a mo­ment of in­di­vid­ual bril­liance, and they marry that with a de­cent pack.

“They al­ways come and pose a threat, and it will be no dif­fer­ent this week­end.

“It’s key to shut down their mo­men­tum. If they get an early score, then you need to chase the game.

“Es­pe­cially against a team like Aus­tralia, who have that counter-at­tack­ing abil­ity, you just don’t want to get in a hole against them early on.

“In in­ter­na­tional rugby you can’t get that back, so we need to be switched on and start well.”

Asked about his 2008 mem­o­ries, Jones added: “That was a long time ago.

“I think if you go look­ing too far back, you can get lost search­ing for an­swers.

“This is all about the 80 min­utes on Satur­day, and that is what we are fo­cus­ing on.

“There is that abra­sive side to the Aus­tralians that you need to coun­ter­act. All the south­ern hemi­sphere teams have it.

“And they’ve got peren­nial poach­ers in the back row, and we need to coun­ter­act that.”

The strength of Wales’s re­place­ments bench – one that con­tains Lions Dan Big­gar and Liam Wil­liams, plus two Test skip­pers in Cory Hill and El­lis Jenk­ins – could ul­ti­mately un­der­pin the bid for vic­tory.

And if Wales do start re­dress­ing the bal­ance, it would be their sev­enth win in a row against all op­po­nents, which they have not achieved since the 2004-05 sea­son.

“I think Gats (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) has made a point to a few of the boys about the cal­i­bre of player who can come on and make an im­pact,” Jones added.

“We have got no ex­cuses with the peo­ple we’ve got off the bench.”

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