Gareth Jenkins has selected an experienced line up for their crucial Pool B match against Australia on Saturday. James Hook is replaced by Stephen Jones at fly-half in a move that reveals the way in which the coach wants the team to play.
Creativity will be abandoned for the sensible option of kicking for the corner and control will be the name of the game, rather than pace and skill and the ability to thrive in broken play – the traits that have marked Welsh successes in recent years.
Gareth Thomas is reinstated at full-back, whilst Colin Charvis starts at blindside flanker over Alix Popham – one of Wales’ stand-out players in the warm-up games (and there weren’t many).
Nevertheless, Wales seem to know how to play against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium, having drawn last November and beaten them in 2005.
G Thomas (Cardiff Blues, capt); M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), S Parker (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), D Peel (Llanelli Scarlets); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), C Charvis (Newport Gwent Dragons), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys).
Replacements: TR Thomas (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Ospreys), M Owen (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), K Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons).