Wallabies don't hold secret edge against Wales

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A win for Australia in Cardiff on Saturday would give the Wallabies a 12th straight win over Wales, but it’s not a mark the Wallabies are preoccupied with.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the 3-7 2016 record his side held coming into the clash meant there was no premature thought of stretching their streak.

The Wallabies have more work to do. Photo: Getty Images“I don't know if anyone's thinking about 12 in a row when you haven't won as many games as we should've won this year,” he said.

"That hasn't even popped up on anyone's radar. All that stuff is exactly what it is - the past. It gives us nothing on Saturday and gives them nothing either.

“The two teams on match day, putting their best rugby forward, and the better team will win - that's how it always boils down.”

Australia’s recent history with Wales, though dominant, has involved plenty of thrilling finishes, with 10 of their 11 consecutive victories decided by fewer than 10 points.

The Wallabies’ immense defensive effort at the World Cup in the sides’ last meeting is still stuck in many memories but this year has been one where the Wallabies’ resilience has come under question, with Cheika admitting after August’s Bledisloe that they needed to build greater mental toughness.

Flanker David Pocock, who is switching to blindside for Saturday’s clash, said another inevitably close encounter with Wales would be a litmus test of their psychological strength.

“It's something we're trying to build all the time, trying to be better at mastering our emotions and skill under pressure and when it really counts.

“We get judged every weekend on the 80 minutes we put out there so that's the challenge this week again.”

Pocock dismissed the suggestion that Wales had any kind of mental weakness against Australia, after succumbing to the Wallabies in game-defining moments.

“No, certainly not. They're a team we have a huge amount of respect for,” he said.

“Coming over here it's one of the best stadiums in the world so you always really relish that opportunity to play on such a big stage against such a proud sporting nation. “

“Rugby is huge here and you get to see that on game day with how Cardiff sort of turns into a different city.”

Kurtley Beale scored a last-gasp try to seal a thrilling win over Wales in 2012. Photo: Getty ImagesPocock said that ability to eke out a dramatic victory was something they wanted.

“It always is special to win at the end, particularly in games where you maybe don't play your best but you find a way to win,” he said.

“That's what every team is trying to do. Look at the great teams, they often will win even when they're not at their best, which is such a hard thing to do at Test level.

“The All Blacks are the only team that's doing that at the moment.

“That's the challenge for us coming off a pretty disappointing Rugby Championship."