Sport

Beware the wounded Wallabies

Dan Palmer of the Wallabies and team-mates catch their breath during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and Scotland at Hunter Stadium on June 5, 2012 in Newcastle, Australia.
Dan Palmer of the Wallabies and team-mates catch their breath during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and Scotland at Hunter Stadium on June 5, 2012 in Newcastle, Australia. Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

BEWARE of the wounded tiger, or Wallabies, it should be in this case.

Wales caretaker head coach Rob Howley knows his team is going to come face to face with an Australian team fired up to avenge its shock defeat against Scotland in the first Test in Brisbane tonight.

The Scots, who finished bottom of this season's Six Nations standings after losing all five of their matches, caused a major upset on Tuesday when they won 9-6 in Newcastle.

That result will have given Grand Slam champions Wales plenty of confidence, but Howley knows it is not going to be easy playing a team determined to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since August 2010.

"Australia will be disappointed after their defeat to Scotland, but that will make them all the more dangerous for us," Howley said. "The Wallabies are still the second highest placed side in the world rankings and we are playing them in their own back yard.

"We all appreciate the enormity of the task ahead of us, the long term stats don't make happy reading for the Welsh against the Wallabies, but as recently as this season we have two losses racked up against Australian opposition and we are determined to stop that trend.

"We have created some winning momentum, we have a recent home win against the Barbarians to take into this game and have built a certain amount of confidence within the squad."

The Welsh line-up for tonight contains four changes from that which sealed a 16-9 victory over France last March to be crowned Champions of Europe and achieve their third Grand Slam in seven seasons.

In the front row Scarlets hooker Ken Owens replaces Matthew Rees and it's all change in the second row with Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris replacing Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones, who moves to the bench.

There is one change to the backline which remained together for the duration of the 2012 Six Nations clean sweep, with centre Scott Williams replacing the injured Jamie Roberts.

Topics:  wales rugby union, wallabies


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