Ahead of Wales’ clash with Australia at the Principality Stadium Alun Wyn Jones spoke at the captain’s run saying ”I haven’t beaten them enough” as he looks forward to the match. Looking at squad depth and his last victory over the Wallabies Jones gave a good view of how Wales have prepared.
Optimistic camp despite run of 13 losses
Despite a winless record of 13 consecutive games against Australia spanning a decade of agony Wales are staying positive. Bookies make the hosts favourites as Alun Wyn Jones praises a tough training camp and Scotland victory. ”The win and the first outing was a decent performance off an arduous two weeks. There’s a lot of new blood that had an opportunity over the summer.”
The influx of new blood has been coming with Warren Gatland firmly looking ahead to next year’s World Cup.
Wales usually line up against the Wallabies in the first Test match, but Jones believes it could well benefit them to play them second up this time round, saying ”It probably does make a difference from a preparation point of view, being together for two months. We’ve got a bit more rugby under our belts.”
With Australia in their World Cup group it could be a key game in not only carrying momentum through, but to get the monkey off the back. Despite the obvious lure of focusing on next year’s match Wales have set themselves a short term target. ”It’s a long way off. There’s a lot of eyes moving around on games this weekend, but we’re concentrating on the 80 rather than next year.
”I haven’t beaten them enough” says Jones
This will be Alun Wyn’s 16th meeting with the Aussie’s and he’s keen to put the record right with them saying ”I haven’t beaten them enough with Wales, I’ve had a bit of success with the Lions. You know they’re going to attack from anywhere with the calibre of players they have. The individual that can spark a bit of brilliance. They always come and pose a threat.’
The key to beating Australia is going to be all about ”momentum” says Jones. Looking at how Wales will approach the game AW Jones said ”We played them before and they get an early score and you chase the game, you don’t want to get into a hole early on because in international rugby you can’t pull it back. Start well, be switched on and stay in the game.”
Beard partnership a favourable one
Having played a lot of games next to Adam Beard at the ospreys AW Jones is extremely familiar with his game style. ”I saw him come through Neath-Port Talbot college and he was bigger than most of the boys at the Ospreys. He is fulfilling his potential now, it’s another step up to start at home, but I wish him well and I’ll support him in the game and he’s doing fine off his own back.”
Fellow forward Dan Lydiate returned to the squad after lengthy bouts with injury affecting his Wales game time. Jones spoke about how valuable a player like Lydiate can be. ”A lot has been documented on his injuries. He’s the guy that keeps coming back and when he plays there’s no questions asked. The professionalism he has, every team has a player like him and we’re fortunate to have him back.”
08 victory in back of the mind
Alun Wyn is the sole surviving member from the side that last defeated the wallabies in 2008. Looking back at the game he said ”It’s tough, there is that abrasive side to the Australian squad. They’ve got perennial poachers in their back row and we need to combat that, but ultimately it’s a different day. If you’re looking too far back you can get lost. The calibre we have on the bench to come on is good.
The closer you get the further you feel away.
Particularly when you look at the three Test tour and we lost by 11 points across the three Tests. We’ve got no excuse with the people we’ve got on the bench.
Strength in depth is a beautiful thing, it’s what every team searches for. It was a pleasing summer. I wasn’t involved in the summer came back and had an opportunity. Some guys weren’t eligible last week and they’re chomping at the bit to get on.
A lot of these guys have had a lot of success at a club level. It is a step up at international level, but there’s a lot of guys with a lot of confidence. You can’t train confidence so you just got to pull the string and let them go.”
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