5 THINGS THE WAL­LA­BIES NEED TO DO TO BEAT WALES

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - GRAND FINAL - BY JU­LIAN LIN­DEN

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.

2 DE­FENCE

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.

3 GOALKICKIN­G

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.

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