Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Wales host Australia in battle for pre-World Cup tonic

Kurtley Beale relishes trips to Cardiff Kurtley Beale relishes trips to Cardiff
Andrew Wong | 11 November, 2018, 01:43

Horan, who became one of Australia's greatest attacking players over a decorated 80-test career from 1989-2000, said one option could be to leave one of the star flankers on the bench in an effort to develop variation and depth in what has been a troublesome position for Cheika's outfit.

Despite Ashley-Coopers vast experience, playing over 100 tests for his country, Waugh believes the transition from Japan to test Rugby will be tough, "I think it would be very hard to go from the Top League in Japan out into Millennium Stadium and into Twickenham, it would be pretty hard".

Australia coach Michael Cheika insists he has no problem with his side being labelled underdogs for Saturday's Test match against Wales.

"We know what we get from Dan, we know what a quality player is and his strengths are", Gatland said.

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To combat this, Gatland has stacked his bench with experience, surprisingly leaving British & Irish Lions stars Dan Biggar and Liam Williams to come off the pine. "If you want to find a pattern, you can find one anywhere".

"Wouldn't it be a shame to sacrifice David Pocock on the bench?". "We're very conscious of that area of the game", he said.

The Wallabies have been going about their business diligently in Newport, about a 30-minute drive from Cardiff, while on the other side of town at Vale Resort, Wales have been fine-tuning preparations to show why that their No.3 world ranking is not fake news.

While Australia has enjoyed a prolonged run of success against the Welsh - amassing a 13-game winning streak dating back to 2013 - Horan believes the game will be decided on which team can stay disciplined and control the ball the best. In 2012 I think it was 11 points across three Tests.

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Asked for his thoughts on Tipuric, Pocock said: "I rate him".

"I wasn't expecting to come on tour but it's an opportunity and there could be the possibility of Super Rugby next year to get to that World Cup", he said. "I am not coming for anything less than that".

"Probably the top eight teams in the world now can beat anyone on any given day".

Far from being a chance to experiment too much with selections, Horan outlined the importance of finishing a tough year on a winning note. "All the scars we collect, whether it is this game or the one after that or the 15 left until the World Cup final, will help us".

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"This will definitely be important from a confidence point of view, and yes, it's been well-documented that they are under different sorts of pressures than we are, but the pressure for us is being favourites and being able to handle it".

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