Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has underlined the importance of shutting down Australian momentum in Saturday’s Under Armour Series clash.
The Wallabies have been on a roll against Wales since 2008, winning 13 successive Tests.
Jones is the only starting XV survivor this weekend from Wales’ 21-18 victory 10 years ago, when tries by Shane Williams and Lee Byrne left Australia reeling.
The head coach welcomes a selection headache ahead of #WALvAUS 🏴 Mae 'na ddigon o gystadleuaeth ymysg y garfan, meddai'r prif hyfforddwr pic.twitter.com/0fIrBLezLX— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 8, 2018
But the Wallabies have triumphed on every subsequent occasion, although Jones did taste success twice against them in 2013 while wearing a different red shirt – that of the British and Irish Lions.
“You know Australia are always going to attack from anywhere,” he said, ahead of the latest Principality Stadium meeting.
“With the players they have, they can spark up a moment of individual brilliance, and they marry that with a decent pack. They always come and pose a threat, and it will be no different this weekend.
“It’s key to shut down their momentum. If they get an early score, then you need to chase the game.
“Especially against a team like Australia, who have that counter-attacking ability, you just don’t want to get in a hole against them early on. In international rugby you can’t get that back, so we need to be switched on and start well.”
Asked about his 2008 memories, Jones added: “That was a long time ago.
“I think if you go looking too far back, you can get lost searching for answers. This is all about the 80 minutes on Saturday, and that is what we are focusing on.
“There is that abrasive side to the Australians that you need to counteract. All the southern hemisphere teams have it. And they’ve got perennial poachers in the back row, and we need to counteract that.”
Wing Josh Adams and lock Adam Beard – two of the players who starred during Wales’ successful summer Test series against Argentina – are rewarded with starts on Saturday.
FULL STORY 📰 Adams, Beard and Francis to start for Wales, with three big returning names taking their place on the bench for round two of the Under Armour Series 🏴 https://t.co/wt4k0G7dCW #WALvAUS pic.twitter.com/co6pvrbtLw— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 8, 2018
But the strength of Wales’ replacements bench – one that contains Lions Dan Biggar and Liam Williams, plus two Test skippers in Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins – could ultimately underpin the bid for victory.
And if Wales do start redressing the balance, it would be their seventh win in a row against all opponents, which they have not achieved since the 2004-05 season.
“I think Gats (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) has made a point to a few of the boys about the calibre of player who can come on and make an impact,” Jones said.
“The closer you get to Australia, the further you feel away. In 2012, I think it was 11 points across three Tests against them.
“We have got no excuse with the people we’ve got off the bench. The people who did that in the summer and against Scotland last weekend had a good game, and I am sure the people who will do that on Saturday will do a good job.
“We’ve had a good outing already, and there were patches of our performance against Scotland which were good.
“We’ve got some momentum already, and it probably does make a difference facing Australia second (in the autumn) from a preparation point of view.
“We know they have been together for two or three months, but this time we’ve got a bit more preparation under our belts, which will help.”
- Press Association