Wallabies take on Wales
British & Irish Lions

Save the Wales, or is that the Wallabies?

Save the Wales, or is that the Wallabies?
Jones

Jones

This is what the Welsh think – a poll from the South Wales Echo:

Do you think Wales can defeat the Wallabies on Saturday?

Yes, they’ve got the ability 85.0%

No, it’s too big an ask 7.4%

Jones

Jones

It’s too close to call 7.7%

The Welsh can sniff it again. The vulnerability of this seemingly disparate Wallaby touring side, inconsistent and incontinent (well, pissing in the wind anyway) with a lack of game day direction.

I’m not sure how its going to turn out on Saturday and am a bit loathe to predict it but Wales are in the box seat having defeated the Wallabies last year (as the only Southern Hemisphere scalp) and, unlike their opponents, running into some good form.

& Jones

& Jones

The boyos gave a very good account of themselves against the No 1 ranked side in the world a few weeks back. If you remember, Wales ran the ball will nilly at the All Blacks after winning the lions share of possession.

They didn’t get over the tryline but stretched the All Black defence in the process. The All Blacks countered and won by Dan Carter and mates putting boot to ball, competently.

Wales defeated Argentina last week with a dominant lineout and more than parity in the scrums (a known Puma strength) with the added benefit of loads of technical penalties. It was as if Le Fuse was now a fixture in the Argie pack – El Fuse!

Although a relatively dour game (where have you heard that before) the Welsh were effective at the breakdown and possessed a prevalent maul.

In fact, I reckon there’s going to be loads of mauling by the boyos on Saturday as one of their main attacking weapons and Peel is a box kick exponent. That’ll no doubt put a bit of pressure on our vulnerable young Wobbly friends.

They do have a propensity to run the ball in the right conditions and last year won the Six Nations on the back of some expansive play. The weather used to be a factor in that; however, one would assume the roof will be closed as it’s going to be raining all week.

Fortunately, new turf has been laid at the Millenium Stadium since the appalling condition it was in for the Wales v New Zealand match. In the ten years its been in operation the Stadium has been re-turfed 25 times; so they have some issues with it.

Looking at their team, its loaded with experience. A dozen of their frontline players are British & Irish Lions tourists. Jamie Roberts is a devastating runner in the centres and with Tom Shanklin is close to being on a par with the Irish pairing. Unfortunately Shanklin is still out with a broken nose so young Jonathan Davies gets another chance.

Stephen Jones is an excellent tactical and goal kicker who really knows how to run a game. He also is prepared to take on the defence.

What can you say about Shane Williams, the best finisher in the business. His form dropped away with the Lions but its back, he scored two tries in last week’s Argentina fixture. Another of a strong back three, fullback Hook is mercurial but I wouldn’t be kicking the pill to him as he’ll territorially make you pay.

Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris and Ryan Jones make up a formidable attacking lineout combination who will exploit any weaknesses, and we’ve seen plenty of that with the Wallabies.

They have a strong scrummaging forward unit, especially British Lions Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees, with Martin Williams, Andy Powell and Ryan Jones a well balanced backrow combo and arguably the best loose forward team in the Six Nations.

Unlike the box of chocolates, with Wales I think you know what you’re going to get.

WALES: James Hook; Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (Captain)

Replacements: Huw Bennett, Duncan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Dan Lydiate, Martin Roberts, Andrew Bishop, Tom James


  • Robson

    Yep they fancy their chances for sure and will come out all fifteen cylinders firing. They also beat us last year and with the recent poor form of the 1st XV they have good reason to think they not only can, but will, pull it off again; and convincingly too.

    I myself don’t think they will.

    This is the last match of the year. The WBs will want to get on the plane and come home to their partners and families and a nice SH summer knowing they have closed off the season on a high note, despite all the doldrums they have been through.

    The Welsh Dragons fire is favourite, but the Wallabies have the biggest reason to be the most strongly motivated. And they will be.

    Interesting a kiwi expat coach up against a kiwi expat coach.

    • Lance Free

      You bet we can do it Robbo, but I’m not going to put any hard-earned on it. Looks to me that the Taffs have experience and form right across the park. You’ve got to say, we’re gonna be up against it…..

  • Ozrugbynut

    Wallabies have had it all to play for several times this season:

    Christchurch – To keep the momentum going after a solid start to the international season and put the ABs under pressure going into Sydney.

    Wellington – to hand NZ one of their worst seasons on record and break the losing streak

    Scotland – to set up a shot to finish the tour undefeated against Wales AND NOW

    Wales – to score a good away win against quality opposition and exact revenge for last year. To prove that these young Wallabies feel the pain of last weeks defeat and are determined to preserve our honour as a top 3 rugby nation, to finish the season and give fans some hope that Deans’ investment will pay off, and let our frustration out on a Welsh team who rate themselves.

    Even with all these good reasons to fire up throughout the international season, the WBs have inexplicably lacked intensity on all occasions. Our lack of committment at the breakdown in Wellington was perhaps the most infuriating example.

    Let’s hope they put in a committed performance like the dirties did this morning.

    Every game should be a big game of course if you have the honour of pulling on the Gold jersey, but this test against Wales is a REAL test of character.

    Hope they do it for the suffering, red-eyed fans who stay up to watch it.

  • happy hooker

    This WB’s team’s a funny one, they can’t seem to win two in a row, they play well one week (and I think we did against Ireland but were unlucky – if you can call it that). They seem to lack the motivation to maintain their intesity week to week, and its hurting big time!
    The only thing I can put this down to is age, as its a young team with a lot to learn, and hopefully all these lessons are being put in vault for later times. The other thing is that we have a Kiwi coach. Living as an expat in HK now and dealing with them on the Rugby pitch regularly, I can’t tell you how different their approach to the game is – and add Noriega to the mix and we have 2/4 expats.

    I just dont think we can build the passion and fire like say Macqueen did in 1999 through his use of Aussie/Anzac history and bringing in the right people to present jersies etc?? They seem to be lacking passion and pride…we shouldn’t try playing like AB 2xv!

    • Robson

      McQueen was a brilliant coach, but I believe that coaching is a matter of communication and McQueen was a superb communicator. If Deans isn’t able to put his ideas across to the WBs it’s not because he’s a kiwi, it’s because he can’t communicate with them.

      The most successful coaches of Pacific Islanders for instance have not been Pacific Islanders.

      Personally I think that Deans is a good communicator about rugby issues. It’s just too easy to say that the problem is that he doesn’t understand the culture. He understands rugby, but do the WBs really want to go where he is no doubt pushing them to go. He won’t be pushing them to be an AB team, 1st, 2nd or 3rd. He will be pushing them to be a champion Wallaby outfit.

      But after years of substandard WB coaching and less than adequate S14 coaching are they really up to wanting to be the best that they can be?

      I don’t know the answer, but if Deans is confusing them it’s because they they are finding it hard to know what is really required to bring out the best in themselves.

      All Blacks and Springboks on the other hand have this deep rugby culture behind them which is second to none in the country of their birth. Rugby comes a very poor third and maybe not even that in Oz.

      If the WBs get beaten by Scotland the whole of the rugby fraternity in Oz is up in arms. AFL, Leaguies and Soccerites just laugh. When the ABs started off with a poor performance earlier this year, the WHOLE country wanted to lynch the coach.

      In recent years the WBs have got used to a culture of mediocrity whilst the ABs are part of a culture of repeated winning. The All Blacks have an embedded culture of expecting to win every game they play.

      It’s a culture which is very, very hard to implant in a team with such a mediocre background.

      • happy hooker

        Robson, some good points there, but I can’t go past those mediocre coachese having better international records – I beleive Deans now has the worst WBs record in history at 51% (yes you could argue that the competition is better, and we’re in the bottom of a cycle). Aussie Rugby has ALWAYS been different to the others, 4th ranked in Aus, small boutique playing population – it has prided itself on innovation and strategy more so that outright skill and depth, hopefully the latter will come in time (I doubt it), but the roots shouldn’t be lost.

        I’ll put it down to age in the end – and hopefully Deans can pull it together in time b/c he is a class coach and deserves a bit better – in 2 yrs I suppose he’ll be the messiah… or a very naughty boy.

  • Rocky Elboa

    I will be at the game again this week and strangly I am hopeful. Last week was a real low for me as a Wallaby fan, but I just have this feeling… can’t explain it, maybe it was watching JOC and QC (and Beale) take on Cardiff last night or maybe I am loosing it.

    To make my dream come true I think the team needs a few changes;
    Pocock, he will ensure we win plenty of penalties with the way refs are interpreting the breakdown.
    Mumm, his line out perfromance has been fantastic and his leadership and work rate at the breakdown and around the park is something we need more of
    JOC Fullback
    AAC Outside centre, Diggers Wing (or vis versa)
    Keep Gits at 10 and QC 12, but get them talking and remind Gits that Rugby is a game of patience and phase play not a game of one of mircle winning plays
    Bench Backs; Kingi, Beale, Mitchell
    (Sorry Cross your soild but… well you know your not up to it)

    All Pray that Fat Cat and Cliffy are fit

    If the Wallabies forwards can win good possesaion
    (this is one thing we have proven we are capable of doing) and the backs start to out think the opposition like the Wallabies of old and remember;

    “Unlike the box of chocolates, with Wales I think you know what you’re going to get.”

    Come on boys! I am ready to believe again!

  • Hywel Roberts

    Interesting to see what the Aussies think about Saturday. As a Welshman I think we have the team to do it, but historically we struggle when we’re favourites. I think the Aussies, as with us, are dangerous when they’ve got their backs to the wall.

    One samll point Lance, Tom Shanklin is fit but they’ve gone for Davies instead of him. Supposedly because his partnership with Roberts in midfield was effective, but to be hones I didn’t really see any evidence of that myself!

    Anyway, sorry I know this is for Australian fans, just thought I’d put a Welsh perspective across, hope you don’t mind! I’ll be there in Saturday too, here’s to a great game of rugby!

    • Rocky Elboa

      More than appreciated from my perspective, can’t wait to be at Millennium again, awesome stadium and great people.
      You always know that win loose or draw it will be a great night and all the Welsh want is a good game

      Let hope we get it; good luck Hywel and here to a great game

      • Hywel Roberts

        Well said Rocky, as you say, whatever the score is we’ll definitely have a great night in Cardiff. I do honestly think though that here we have two sides who like to run the ball, and i am really looking forward to the game. I think it will be the best of the November series.

        Enjoy the game, and the nightlife!

        • ozrugbynut

          Like to run the ball? Wallabies?

          Looking forward to it. Let’s just all go to our happy place and pretend nothing happened last weekend…

    • Lance Free

      Great to hear from you Hywel, boyo. Really appreciate your input and views from the other side – more than welcome.

      I watched the Wales v Argentina game and didn’t think Jonathan Davies was anything special – much prefer Shanklin’s experience if he is available.

      Pob lwc Cymru

  • Couple of points

    1) we didnt win the 6 Nations last year, Ireland had th grand slam, in fact we came as low as 4th! (though joint 2nd on points)

    2) our scrum has been lucky, decent refs should have penalized us, you should be comfortable there (our TH has only played TH twice before this set of AI’s)

    3) we are lacking creativity in midfield. Scoring tries is an issue, even against the argies the tries came from mistakes by them

    4) we have peel back now so that is a step up vs our game against the AB’s.

    5) we are improving and have done traditionally well against you guys and in the last game of the AI’s.

    6) that poll seems to ask if we think we are good enough (we surely know we are), rather than will we win

    I reckon us by about 5 though. Question will be how we do at the breakdown (powell is awful at 6, is no help there and makes no sense he is ahead of Jon Thomas) and how well peel can get quick ball out.

    • ozrugbynut

      It should be a competitive game, provided our key players don’t get knocked out in the first 30 seconds!

      Good luck for the game.

    • Lance Free

      Wales did win the Grand Slam last year (2008) Nicko???

      I reckon Jamie Roberts is a world class player and ably supported by Tom Shanklin. I guess Jonathan Davies is just in the process of making a name for himself – a bit like our blokes.

      You guys sure are good enough to win the match, as you were last year. You don’t have any psychological barrier against the Wallabies like you do against the All Blacks.

      • Lance, fair point, I read it as last season (which we didnt) rather than last year, my mistake.

        Yeah, like you we have a bunch of youngsters looking to make a name. Whilst there are old heads (stephen jones, martyn williams) there are also a bunch of youngsters… jon davies is, iirc, 20 (maybe 21), halfpenny is only 20, Jamie Roberts is 22 (or might be 23 now) hell even the likes of James Hook and Alun-Wyn Jones are in their early 20’s!

        Not as young a team as you but enough that we are confident we have players coming through.

        Problem will still be our midfield, which again lacks guile when Hook isn’t coming into the line. But having seen teh Scotland game I am not convinced by your own creativity either.

        What do we think, 1 forward try apiece and the game decided on penalties?

        • Lance Free

          Nicko mate, these Wallabies have been so inconsistent it’s really hard to predict what’ll happen next. I think they’ll chance their arm and run it a bit more, especially if Ioane is there. That might make for a few more tries.

          The Cymru boyos will run it as well, they usually give the ball a bit of width. I notice though that they’re a bit east/west (lateral) in their attack sometimes instead of north/south.

          There’ll be plenty of penalties – the Wallabies always seem to cop a few. I’d like to think that Australia will put on a decent show for their last game of the tour and prove that last week was a ‘one off’. They just might do that this week…..they’ll have the motivation.

          Wallabies by about 7.

  • hillston hog

    this will be my 4th trip to what is in my opinion the best stadium on the planet. But its the only time I have been going in thinking – jesus this could go either way…..
    If we fire – we have too much for the leek lovers, but its a big IF.
    Clifford,Rockstar TPN, Bam and Gits will need to show us the are worthy of the raps and the young guns need to stop reading and start playing.
    Either way – garaunteed a brilliant night out – for what its worth they put on a hell of a show for their first ever ashes match as well……if they could get their haircuts sorted out ai reckon i would move there !!

    CMON TRHE WOBBLIES!!

British & Irish Lions
@@LanceFree

Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

More in British & Irish Lions