Re­minder of what is still to come

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Cardiff

– Psy­cho­log­i­cal one-up­man­ship will be up for grabs when Wales host Aus­tralia to­day in a dress-re­hearsal of what has been billed a pool-de­cid­ing match at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The two sides will clash on Septem­ber 29, 2019, at Tokyo Sta­dium in what many reckon will be the game that de­cides the win­ner of a Pool D that also in­cludes Fiji, Ge­or­gia and Uruguay.

So there is all to play for at Cardiff’s Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium, not least to boost con­fi­dence lev­els and test squads’ strength in depth.

War­ren Gat­land’s Wales come into the fix­ture on the back of a 21-10 vic­tory over Scot­land, their sixth win on the trot.

The Wal­la­bies, coached by Michael Cheika, won just two of their six Rugby Cham­pi­onship matches in an in­dif­fer­ent sea­son, but have racked up 13 straight wins over the Welsh since 2008.

Gat­land ac­tu­ally over­saw the 2008 vic­tory over Aus­tralia, as part of his first au­tumn se­ries since tak­ing over as Wales coach fol­low­ing the 2007 Rugby World Cup. But he has since seen his side go down 13 times, on many oc­ca­sion by a mere hand­ful of points.

Cheika made four changes to his start­ing XV from the one that lost most re­cently to New Zealand.

The Aus­tralian was adamant that the match was a “great op­por­tu­nity for us to take their scalp”.

Wales, he added, are “al­ways very com­pet­i­tive and Gat­land is one of the best coaches in the world”. – AFP

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

ED­DIE JONES

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