Wales vs Australia – Wales needs win to stay in top 8 of the World Rankings

30/11/2012 no comments »
Wales vs Australia – Wales needs win to stay in top 8 of the World Rankings

Wales will face Australia in the last Autumn International match on Saturday, December 1st at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The game will be hugely important for Wales as they fear to drop out of the top 8 in the world rankings, which will secure a more favourable draw for the 2015 World Cup group stages. The draw for the 2015 World Cup group stages will be made on 3 December. Therefore, a defeat by Australia has to be avoided under any circumstance.

However, Wales has been beaten 4 times by the Wallabies in the last 13 months and so far Wales wasn’t able to win any of the 4 Autumn International matches this month. Wales lost the opening match against Argentina with 12-26 with Halfpenny scoring 4 penalties. The second match was lost to Samoa with 19-26 and again it was Halfpenny that led to team with 4 penalties and 1 conversion. Wales played their best game probably in the second half against New Zealand. Despite losing 10-33, Wales showed a great performance and retained 73% of possession against the All Blacks in the second half.

Wales also faces major injury problems. Jenkins was released by his team Toulon to earn his 94th cap. He will replace Paul James join tight-head Scott Andrews Loose. Winger George North was wasn’t able to recover from a hip injury and Bradley Davies suffers from a concussion. However, Ian Evans will return and Aaron Shingler is preferred at flanker to Ryan Jones. Samson Lee will earn his first cap as replacement after his 20th birthday.

This match on Saturday will be huge for Wales. Coach Gatland is confident: “We have played them regularly over the last couple of years and have come close to winning on a number of occasions, but have not quite been able to get ourselves over the chalk of the finish line. Both sides have had injuries to cope with, but there is every reason for optimism.”

Australia lost badly to France in the opening match of the Autumn International with 33-6, but won against England and Italy. However, the test is certainly a good test for the 6 Nations  where they face Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland and England.

Here is the line-up:

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, Ian Evans, Luke Charteris, Aaron Shingler, Sam Warburton (capt), Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams.

Australia: Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson.

Replacements: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Brendan McKibbin, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane.

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