Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium, November 28
Williams expecting open Wallabies showdown
November 24, 2009
Martyn Williams is predicting a high-pressure meeting with the Wallabies © Getty Images
Wales flanker Martyn Williams is expecting a free-flowing game when the Wallabies arrive at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday despite his belief that the game is pivotal for both sides' self-belief going forward.
Australia have not enjoyed the best record in Cardiff in recent years, winning one Test, drawing one and losing two in their last four visits, and are under pressure to perform after failing to break down a stubborn Scotland in their 9-8 loss at Murrayfield last weekend.
Wales, meanwhile, have stuttered in their three Tests, losing once again to the All Blacks before gradually improving from a narrow win over Samoa to beat Argentina comfortably on Saturday.
Cardiff Blues team-mate Tom Shanklin could be recalled after recovering from a nose injury and will vie with Scarlets youngster Jonathan Davies and the selection dilemmas facing coach Warren Gatland are some of the plusses according to Williams.
"Our strength in depth is the strongest it has been for a number of years, but we've got to back that up with a performance against Australia," said Williams. "If we don't win next Saturday, it is going to be a disappointing autumn, there is no doubt about that. It's a big game for both teams.
"Wales and Australia play similar styles - we both try to play expansively. They are normally good games too, with a high ball in play time and a lot of attacking rugby. And recently, we've always seemed to play them last up after we have been together for a month during the autumn and started hitting our straps."
Victory over Argentina moved Wales above the Pumas and England in the IRB world rankings and Williams believes that despite their poor run of results the Wallabies will severely test Wales in front of a capacity crowd.
"Perhaps results haven't quite gone their way," said Williams. "But they dominated the England game a couple of weeks ago, and then I thought they were really unlucky against Ireland (Australia drew 20-20).
"I haven't seen the Scotland game, but from what I have heard Australia blew a lot of chances. They are a young side that will get better and better. Australia are so innovative as a side. They are a great team to watch, and they can run at you from anywhere. You cannot switch off. I don't think it is a game that is going to be won on penalty kicks."