Wales out to get tour back on track
June 10, 2012
James Hook has a chance to claim the Test No.10 jersey with a big showing in Canberra © Getty Images
Wales must banish the disappointment of their first Test loss to Australia when they tackle the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday, with the Super Rugby side in the market for a famous upset.
The tourists will trial a number of combinations as they gear up for a second assault on the Wallabies in Melbourne, although a young, eager ACT-based side will want to provide a stern challenge in front of coach Jake White.
There is no room for error from Wales - defeat here would send their tour into a spiral in the same way a big win would set them up nicely for round two against Robbie Deans and the Wallabies.
Brumbies - Player to Watch: Fullback Robbie Coleman is a classy player, able to slot in across the backline, and will cause Wales plenty of problems if given an opportunity.
Brumbies - Team News: Brumbies boss Jake White has included a number of front-line players, as well as a handful of debutants, in his side for the game, with Coleman at fullback and Ita Vaea, Colby Faingaa and Peter Kimlin comprising the back-row. Wallabies squad member Jesse Mogg starts from the bench.
Wales - Player to Watch: Rhys Priestland didn't have his best outing in the first Test, handing James Hook a chance to impress in Canberra. The Perpignan playmaker will have to go through the pain barrier however, after playing the majority of Saturday's game at fullback due to an injury to George North.
Wales - Team News: Acting head coach Rob Howley has named a strong side, with Luke Charteris, Alun-Wyn Jones and Hook all backing up after playing roles in Saturday's Test loss. Jones skippers the side, which also contains Harry Robinson on the wing, Ashley Beck in the centres and Justin Tipuric at openside. Priestland and Alex Cuthbert are on the bench, alongside late call-up Gareth Delve, who has replaced the injured Toby Faletau for the remainder of the tour.
Key Battle: Ashley Beck made an immediate impact after coming off the bench in Brisbane last weekend and the Ospreys centre starts opposite Andrew Smith on Tuesday. A big display could catapult him into the reckoning for a start in the second Test, particularly given Scott Williams' heavy knock.
Trivia: ACT count a 1978 triumph over Wales - who were Grand Slam champions back then too - as their finest against an international side. Dominic O'Connell slotted a late penalty to win the game at Manuka Oval after the hosts had rallied from 16-6 down.
Stats: Wales No.8 Gareth Delve has played the Brumbies on four occasions during his time with the Melbourne Rebels - winning just once.
"It's not every day we get to play against an International side, most of the boys have never played against a side like this." - Brumbies No.8 Ita Vaea.
"We have one or two bumps and bruises and we are expecting players to 'back-up' after playing a tough Test match and go out there 72 hours later and play for their country. But that is exactly what touring is all about." - Wales coach Rob Howley.
Prediction: There are two young sides on display, but Wales should have enough firepower to secure a comfortable win.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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