Australia expect physical battle despite Wales dropping Jamie Roberts

• Wales consider playing Gloucester fly-half Owen Williams at inside-centre
• ‘We are not expecting them to be different,’ says Tevita Kuridrani

Wales may have dropped the talisman of the Warrenball era, Jamie Roberts, from their squad for the autumn internationals as they ponder playing two fly-halves, but Saturday’s opponents, Australia, are expecting their usual physical workout in Cardiff.

When Wales hosted Australia nine years ago, Roberts played on for 15 minutes after suffering a fractured skull in a collision with his midfield opposite number Stirling Mortlock. It was the end of Warren Gatland’s first year as the coach and his team became renowned for looking to dominate the opposition physically.

The game has moved on and with teams now rewarded for keeping possession, renewed emphasis has been put on attack. Wales announce their team on Thursday and have been considering playing Owen Williams, the Gloucester fly-half, at inside-centre.

“We will look to target their 10-12 channel but that is usual,” said the Australia centre, Tevita Kuridrani, one of his side’s try scorers in the 32-8 victory in Cardiff a year ago. “We want to get the ball out wide and be a threat all over. Wales will not have Jamie Roberts but we are not expecting them to be different.

“They will look to make their mark physically and mash it up in the frontline. It is what you expect when you tour the northern hemisphere where teams are big and physical and look to dominate you. I am looking forward to playing opposite Jonathan Davies for the first time, a world-class centre who has it all; I really rate him.”

Australia have won their past 12 internationals against Wales since losing in 2008 but they arrived in Wales on Monday battle-hardened, if weary after a 16-hour journey from Japan, and buoyed by victory over New Zealand last month.

“That win was a step forward for us,” said the second-row Adam Coleman. “We are a young team and have been trying different combinations, but while it was a good feeling to beat them, it was bittersweet because they kept the Bledisloe Cup.

“What we have to do is carry that performance on and become more consistent. We know we still have a long way to go and we need to keep moving up the rankings. Wales are a class outfit with threats from 1 to 15 and while they can run from anywhere, they will look to take us on up front. We will be up for it.”

The two meet in the 2019 World Cup in Japan. It will be the fourth time they have been pooled together with Wales yet to win. Victory for Australia on Saturday would not only extend the Wallabies’ winning run in the fixture to 13 but give them a psychological advantage before the September 2019 meeting in Tokyo.

“We just look at it as another week,” Kuridrani said. “It is always tough when we play Wales and we know we are going to have to turn up on Saturday. We have done a lot of travelling in the last few months but everyone is fresh and raring to go.”


Paul Rees

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jonathan Davies injury leaves Wales cursing their luck after latest Australia defeat
Key centre could miss rest of autumn series with damaged ankle after Kurtley Beale’s controversial try seals 13th straight defeat against the Wallabies

Michael Aylwin

12, Nov, 2017 @10:00 PM

Article image
Tipuric and Webb injuries give Wales selection problems for Australia Test
Wales are likely to field an unfamiliar back row against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday with Justin Tipuric yet to train since suffering a thigh injury last month

Paul Rees

06, Nov, 2017 @6:09 PM

Article image
Australia’s Bernard Foley foils Wales’ aim to teach old dogs new tricks | Paul Rees
Rob Howley defended his team after a 32-8 rout by Australia but it was not until the final 15 minutes that they showed real creativity

Paul Rees at the Principality Stadium

06, Nov, 2016 @4:13 PM

Article image
Warren Gatland delays naming Wales team to face Australia

Wales have delayed announcement of their team and may have to be as astute on the field if they are to challenge Australia

Paul Rees

02, Nov, 2010 @10:39 PM

Article image
Warren Gatland goes on the attack as Wales seek to end Australian curse
Wales coach picks two playmakers as he hopes revival of attacking approach will help his side halt 12-game losing streak against Michael Cheika’s side

Paul Rees

10, Nov, 2017 @6:31 PM

Article image
Australia inspired by Quade Cooper to impressive victory against Wales
Wales' defeat by Australia extended their coach Warren Gatland's winless record against southern hemisphere sides to five years

Robert Kitson

01, Dec, 2013 @11:30 PM

Article image
Wales and Australia’s cast of understudies can still provide drama | Michael Aylwin
With Ellis Jenkins retaining the Wales captaincy and Australia stung by defeats, there is plenty to play for in Cardiff

Michael Aylwin

19, Nov, 2021 @6:07 PM

Article image
Michael Cheika looks to Australia’s future to extend run against Wales
The Australia coach, Michael Cheika, said he will field his 13th debutant of year for Saturday’s Test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium

Paul Rees

03, Nov, 2016 @7:08 PM

Article image
Injury-hit Wales call Toby Faletau into squad to face Australia
Wales have called up a 19-year-old back-row as injuries grow for Saturday's match against Australia

Paul Rees

01, Nov, 2010 @9:20 PM

Article image
Wales optimistic that Jonathan Davies will be fit for Australia Test
A scan has shown that the centre did not dislocate his shoulder in Clermont Auvergne’s match against Sale

Paul Rees

29, Oct, 2014 @6:50 PM