Autumn Internationals 2012: Wales v Australia Prediction

George North

Discontent does not traditionally arrive until winter, but three gut-wrenching defeats means that Wales’ autumn has been immersed in ill-feeling. If losses to Argentina and Samoa were terribly disappointing, last Saturday against New  Zealand felt just as galling. So dominant were the world champions across every facet of the match that the result was as inevitable as the ban handed to cheap-shot merchant Andrew Hore on Wednesday.

Having said that, the hosts did finish with a brief flourish and a shot at some degree of redemption is at hand. Their best of enemies,Australia, now await for a sixth meeting in thirteen months – all of which have been won by the Antipodeans. Wales simply must break the Wallaby hold.

Reasons to back Wales

A glance through Warren Gatland’s ranks is heartening. Despite catastrophic injury concerns, an extremely talented 23 will arrive at the Millenium Stadium. Aaron Shingler, energetic throughout the encounter with the All Blacks after joining the fray from the bench, comes onto the blindside flank, while Gethin Jenkins gets a chance to redeem his Samoan savaging from the start. This pair of changes is extremely positive – do not expect the Welsh pack to be out-worked around the park.

There are no adjustments further back, with George North failing to recover from a hip complaint. Again, this should be a source of optimism. North has looked sluggish this month and Liam Williams was a shining success story of last weekend, his defensive daring very impressive. The long-haired Llanelli Scarlet now has another opportunity to enhance his reputation within a set of three-quarters that should finally find fluency.

The final area in which Wales can seize supremacy is a vital one. As talisman David Pocock returns to the Aussie openside for the first time since August at the expense of on-fire rookie Michael Hooper, Sam Warburton is at last re-locating a modicum of form. How Wayne Barnes referees the pivotal breakdown will go a long way towards deciding the contest as a whole and, while Pocock is an undeniable maestro on the deck, match-fitness might be lacking. With one eye on one-upmanship ahead of Lions summer, Warburton can be confident.

Reasons to back Australia

A humbling in Paris may just have been the making of Robbie Deans’ men. Since that 33-6 dismantling at the hands of Les Bleus, grinding wins over England and Italy have showcased heaps of heart. Without ever quite hitting their straps, the Wallabies are on for a hat-trick of victories to end a difficult year on a high. As Wales well know, winning is a habit that sometimes just sticks.

Instrumental in recent triumphs has been the try-scoring exploits of surfer-styled wing Nick Cummins, who comes up against Liam Williams in a battle of the barnets out wide. He of “meat pie” fame, Cummins’ all-action approach neatly epitomises true-blue Aussie attitude and Wales will have to make sure he does not link up with the exceptional distribution skills of either Kurtley Beale or Berrick Barnes.

Lastly – and I never thought I would write this – the tourist may have the edge at scrum-time. A crazy proposition two years ago, Australia have unearthed a phalanx of competent props from the carnage of front-row humiliation over the past couple of seasons. While Wales are down to the very bare bones, which happens to comprise potential debutant Samson Lee on the bench, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, James Slipper and Sekope Kefu have made immense progress.

Prediction: Very tough to call. Even if Wales to manage something special, it would be a matter of papering over some worrying cracks. As it happens, I don’t think they quite will anyway. Australia by 3.

By Charlie Morgan – @Charlie Felix

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19 comments on “Autumn Internationals 2012: Wales v Australia Prediction

  1. Warburton HAS to step up. If he doesn’t Pocock could sway this game massively, Warburton needs to take control in the breakdown and win us some ball (or at least help us keep it!).

    I would have preferred Tipuric to start at 6 personally, haven’t felt particularly inspired by Shingler and Ryan Jones has been sluggish and looked amateur at the breakdown. I know Tipuric isn’t a real 6, but having both him and Warburton on at the same time gives us a lot more chance of retaining ball.

    Looking forward to seeing Liam Williams stretch his legs again, really exciting prospect.

    Weakest area is going to be the front row and I’m just hoping they can hold their own in the set pieces and not give away too much silly ball.

    • Smoke & mirrors? Please, a great world cup & a hard fought grand slam (again).
      A few bad games and all of a sudden Wales’ “secret formula” has lost effect.
      You know nothing.

    • How is beating all the other teams smoke and mirrors? I didn’t think the performances kicked on from the world cup, but the best team won the competiton. The current drop in form doesn’t make the past results null and void.

      As an Englishman, I hope Wales can salvage some home nations pride, I fear just too many players missing up front. So I predict an honourable defeat by 5 with a much better performance.

  2. Think you’re over-playing the Aussie front row. The French destroyed them and the Italians weren’t far behind.

    Their success against England was down to Marler falling prey to a wilier, more experienced prop and some iffy calls from the ref

    That said, Wales have got one inexperienced prop in Andrews and one rather out of form, in Jenkins. So a kicking in the scrum may be on the cards

  3. With regards to Steve I am now thoroughly enjoying all of the abuse about Wales being found out, overrated for years, etc. Only a truly great team that scares other fans, really annoyed them when we kept beating them, can inspire this sort of hatred. More of it I say.

    I don’t think there are any cracks to paper over, more we need to regain the solidity we had in our winning days – Adam Jones for the scrum, Lydiate for the close quarters defence and Jon Davies for the backline defence. Priestland needs to regain his gainline playing confidence. Halfpenny needs to get the chance to play rugby, not just be cleaning up the mess of the guys in front of him. We’ve always had strength in depth problems and always will as one of the smallest countries in the IRB old guard members.

    Sadly a lot of what I have listed will not be sorted out in time for this weekend but I still think this could be a close game (3 points seems about right). I on the other hand are going for a narrow Welsh win based on nothing more solid than I think that finally we will be playing with a “we need it more than you” mentality.

  4. Have also gone for a narrow Aussie win. Wales definitely improved last week, but I think a certain lack of confidence in how they are playing generally and too many injuries will mean that the Aussies will scrape another result.

  5. Lets at least make some proper decisions on the pitch ,if there are early points on offer then take the kicks and don’t just hope some party piece tactic may come off to save the day .

    Not that Wales are alone in mucking up crucial decisions in the NH of course.

    There hasn’t been that much between these sides over the last 12 month so at home we have to have a chance .Pocock coming back could be the clincher although Michael Hooper seemed to be as near as damn it a Pocock clone in both looks and play against England . Bookies have Australia 2 points better which seems about right but which I hope is wrong the other way .

  6. I really think Wales will win this. Aus are really poor, and the only reason England didn’t beat them is beacuse we outdid them in the poor stakes.

    Selifshly I really hope Wales do win, as otherwise I can see Eng being “randomly” selected in the same world cup pool as NZ and Wales in our “home” world cup – not good.

  7. I called Australia by 1. It’s been a gruelling season for the international side and it shows in the injuries. Seeing Argentina fall off the edge and give up last week also says a lot so I think Wales have a chance if the Australia side is as knackered as they have a right to be.

    That said, even with Gatland back last week, Priestland isn’t kicking well and the decision making was apalling. If they try that again, they’ll get punished again, especially if the touch kicks go dead.

    All that in mind, I’ve called Australia to win it, but I’ve got a funny feeling about Wales so I’ve put it by 1.

  8. Wales have the worst record against the SH teams of all the home nations with no win in four years. Should this stat make people worried for the Lions in June? A knackered set of Wallabies playing their 16 test tomorrow should be put to the sword by Wales. But they won’t be. Don’t understand why Tipuric isn’t starting at 7. Wallabies by ten.

  9. I had alot of faith in wales prior to the NZ game and I sat there pouring back the whiskey for the first 60minutes until I got to see some welsh life!

    Now they have a choice, win the game tomorrow and have a chance as a good world cup campaign down the line, use it to enter the 6nations on the back of atleast 1 win… or lose the game, go into the 6nations on solid losing form and with a bleak outlook on the world cup.

    With that said, I dont fear wales being put in a WC group with England & NZ. If we look through the Wales/England history there fairly even on wins so although it’d be a tough group it doesn’t count Wales out… besides I want another crack at NZ!

    So my prediction for tomorrows game is Wales, ignoring the scoreline I think i’ll get to watch Wales play not the reserves we’ve seen in the past couple of months!

    Warburton, guide us to a 20+ point win and show some spirit!

  10. it will be close i assure you, we have seen the 3 games in the test series what was it all games within a try? i believe we only lost by 3 or 4 in two of the games, anyway thats the source to the close game however u never know what happens on the day (i hope wales pull something out the bag) its not impossible, with a welsh team like this.

  11. i knew it was going to be close, wales should have won no reason for not holding out for a few minutes (just keep the ball in hand) Fair play to Australia who played well and could only break the welsh defence at 79:00 minutes WALES WILL BOUNCE BACK!!!

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