5 THINGS THE WALLABIES NEED TO DO TO BEAT WALES
1 STAY PATIENT
Last week’s first half against Fiji was one of the dumbest 40 minutes by an Australian team in years. Playing into Fiji’s hands, the Wallabies threw the ball around like they were playing touch football and it wasn’t until the forwards took over and slowed everything down that they finally got going. They got away with it against Fiji but won’t against Wales so need to be patient from the first kick off.
Fiji are one of the hardest teams in the world to defend against because of their ability to offload but the way they opened up the Wallabies last week was worrying and Wales will be licking their lips at the prospect. The last
time the Wallabies won the World Cup, in 1999, they conceded just one try in the entire tournament. Against Fiji last week, they gave up three in the first 45 minutes and missed 24 tackles so they need to hold their line or they’ll be out of the contest before they know it.
For all the talk about the virtues of running rugby and scoring tries, goalkicking invariably decides the big matches at World Cups and this is the one area that Wales have a big advantage over Australia with Welsh five-eighth Dan Biggar one of the most reliable kickers in the world. Bernard Foley’s kicking got the Wallabies to the last final in 2015 but the “Iceman” has been off target this year so he needs to flick the switch quickly.
4 NULLIFY DAN BIGGAR
There’s no bigger threat to the Wallabies than the Welsh No. 10 — and it’s no secret about what he’s going to do either. He’s going to pepper the Australian back three with bombs and cross- field kicks all day long and make it as uncomfortable as he can for them, so they need to be ready to catch everything that comes their way unless Australia’s loose forwards can get to him first and end his threat.
5 WIN THE BREAKDOWN
As great as they are individually, there’s little real benefit in playing Michael Hooper and David Pocock together unless the Wallabies can dominate the breakdown, something they didn’t manage against Fiji last week. This is the one area Australia needs to take control of if they want to win because Wales will be strong at the set pieces and their tactical kicking means counter- attacks from stolen balls will represent Australia’s best chance of scoring tries against one of the best defensive teams in the world.