Australia v Wales in Cardiff
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
For both these teams recent test matches have made woeful reading. This rugby test match is crucial to both sides. Both will want to come away from the November rugby test period with a convincing win
Australia has been very inconsistent in recent rugby test matches. Their only bright patch was defeating England at Twickenham, their low losing 6-33 to France.
All eyes will be on the returning Wallaby flanker David Pocock who returns after a knee injury that has sidelined him since June. For Nathan Sharpe it will be his last test in a long career for the 34 year-old lock forward. To go out in a winning test match will be strong motivation for his team mates. I suspect they will also be playing for their coach. A good win in Cardiff may well just see Robbie Dean’s loose clutch on the job tighten just a wee bit.
Nathan Sharpe will play his last test today for Australia>
Image thanks to www.myms.com.au
Wales has lost six in a row. The 2012 Six Nations Championship winner is light years away from the form that saw them win that tournament. Coach Warren Gatland has warned his side that heads could roll unless they lift their game.
Last Five Encounters
23.06.2012 Australia 20-19 in Sydney
16.06.2012 Australia 25-23 in Melbourne
09.06.2012 Australia 27-19 in Brisbane
03.12.2011 Australia 24-18 in Cardiff
21.10.2012 Australia 21-18 in Auckland (WC, 3rd-4th)
Wales last defeated Australia in 2008, winning 21-18 in Cardiff. Since then Australia has won 7 in a row.
Australia Last Five
24.11.2012 v Italy W 23-19 in Bologna
17.11.2012 v England W 20-14 at Twickenham
10.11.2012 v France L 6-33 in Paris
20.10.2012 v New Zealand D 18-18 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup)
29.09.2012 v South Africa L 8-31 in Prestoria (Rugby Championship)
Wales Last Five
24.11.2012 v New Zealand L10-33 in Cardiff
16.11.2012 v Samoa L19-26 in Cardiff
10.11.2012 v Argentina L 12-26 in Cardiff
23.06.2012 v Australia L 19-20 in Sydney
16.06.2012 v Australia L 23-25 in Melbourne
Wales’ recent losing streak of 6 test matches goes back to 19 June. Their last victory was against Barbarians RFC 30-21 in Cardiff on 2 June.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 3rd, Wales 11th
IRB Ranking Points
Australia 86.31, Wales 78.95
Prediction: Australia by 12 points
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alexander Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 James Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Tobias Faletau, 7 Samuel Warburton, Capt. 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Luke Charteris,
4 Ian Evans, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
16 Ken Owens, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Daniel Biggar, 23 Scott Williams.
Head Coach: Warren Gatland
15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nicholas Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper,
12 Benjamin Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nicholas Phipps,
8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe,
4 Kane Douglas, 3 Benjamin Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 David Dennis,
20 Michael Hooper, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Michael Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans