‘DON’T GIVE THEM A FLYING START’
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.”