Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Struggling Wales desperate to claim Wallabies’ scalp

AFP , CARDIFF

Wales will bid to salvage their autumn international series with a win against Australia today, having already lost to southern hemisphere rivals New Zealand and South Africa.

Wales went down 20-15 to the Springboks, and led the All Blacks 9-6 at half-time before shipping 23 unanswered points in the second half last week. Their sole victory this month came courtesy of a largely second-string side over a woeful Canada team (34-13).

An Australian victory in the Millennium Stadium would cap off a highly successful end-of-season tour that has seen the Wallabies rack up wins over Italy (30-20), England (28-14) and France (18-13) and seeking a first unbeaten tour since 1996.

Beating a team from the southern hemisphere was one of coach Warren Gatland’s stated aims for this month’s Tests, but it’s something which has proved elusive for the Welsh.

Australia were Wales’ last southern hemisphere scalp, the Welsh running out 24-22 victors in November 2005 for only their second win (along with a 1999 win over South Africa) over SANZAR nations in 33 games since the advent of professionalism 13 years ago.

Australia coach Robbie Deans, predicted that Wales would pose his team the toughest test yet on their tour.

“We are well aware how keen they are to pick up a Tri-Nations scalp,” Deans said.

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