Deans ready for "world class" Wales
November 25, 2008
Robbie Deans is ready for a tough challenge at the Millennium Stadium © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans believes the encounter with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday will be his side's toughest encounter of their tour. Despite overcoming both England and France over the last two weekends, Deans sees the Welsh as a world class outfit despite back-to-back home defeats to both South Africa and New Zealand.
"Wales have shown throughout the course of this year that they are a world class side," said Deans, who has named a side showing five changes, including a positional change, from the team which beat France in Paris last weekend. Deans is well aware that after reversals at the hands of the Springboks and the All Blacks, Saturday represents Wales' last chance of taking a Tri-Nations scalp.
"This will be our toughest game. First of all they picked up the Six Nations and even in their recent performances they will be frustrated, probably from a results perspective, but they have shown in each game that they are world class. And what makes them really dangerous this week is that they are very hungry to show that.
"They know they are getting close (to beating one of the southern hemisphere teams). As a result, they'll be looking to bring forward the confidence they have gained out of those previous performances, and will see us as an opportunity to complete the package.
"They have clearly done a lot of work on their conditioning. They are a resilient side. And their passion, combined with the passion of the public, makes them a pretty tenacious beast."
So in a bid to try to cancel out some of the Wales threat the Wallabies have turned to the experience of Phil Waugh as part of a new-look back-row. Waugh is back after being overlooked for the wins against England and France. He takes over from George Smith on the openside flank.
Waugh, 29, said, "Unfortunately I haven't been in the last two games (against England and France) but you would rather be out there playing in the big Test matches. But this week is my chance and Wales at the Millennium Stadium is a big challenge. It's a big Test match especially looking at their form over the last two weeks. I'm just be glad to be getting the chance.
"Wales are a team on the move and they will be eying this Test match for a win. Wales are a fun team to play against because they play a lot of football. All the guys are excited. It's the last match of the year and hopefully we will finish on a high."
The match is the Wallabies' 14th and final Test match of the year with them looking for a 10th win. Their tour will conclude with a special clash against The Barbarians at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, December 3.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September