Shoe on the other foot for battle-hardened Wallabies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

What a difference five months makes. In June, the Wallabies had less than a fortnight to pull together a team to face an England team coming off a Grand Slam Six Nations win.

On Saturday, it was the Australians who were on top against a Welsh side  hit by injuries and a short preparation time.

Having played 10 Tests now, Australia looked connected against the Welsh, in what was one of their best performances in the last year, a product of having spent close to three months in camp together.

This time around they were the battle-hardened side and it showed in Cardiff, coach Michael Cheika said, but that doesn’t mean they can rest on their laurels.

“If you flip it over and look at where we were at in June, not having played since October, it's difficult,” he said.

“But that's the nature of the seasons. We've got to also make sure we keep getting fitter, getting more battle-hardened, for the matches ahead - because they're only going to get tougher as the teams in the northern hemisphere get more games under their belt.”

A new look England side has defeated Australia 39-28. Photo: Getty ImagesFlyhalf Bernard Foley said they knew exactly how it felt to be in Wales’s shoes and it was something the Wallabies wanted to learn from next season.

“We always knew the challenges of coming in with such a short preparation and the Welsh faced that tonight,” he said.

“It’s tough when you have everyone back from their club sides and have a week to prepare.

“Test match footy is something totally different to the provincial or to club competitions. It goes up a notch and you only have to be off by little margins and you lose Test matches.

“It is tough and that’s the challenges we’ve all faced and we’ve all got to improve and learn from them, so next time when we have that, we know how to counter it or be best prepared in short times.”

The Wallabies will take any advantage they can get in a tough five-week Spring Tour that features some of the most hostile venues in the world.

The Welsh fans provide a hostile reception and they're not the only ones. Photo: Getty ImagesScrumhalf Nick Phipps said the danger of having the crowd against them was something of which they were acutely aware, particularly after their outing at Millennium Stadium.

“Being on the receiving end you understand, with the scheduling at the moment you don’t get an opportunity to get on an even foot,” he said.

“But we’re coming over here knowing we’re playing in some pretty inhospitable places, with very passionate, loud crowds at an away stadium we know we’re up against it.

“They’ve certainly got a few advantages as well.”

All Wallabies Tests during the Spring Tour will be screened LIVE on BeIN Sports 3 (Foxtel channel 515) . Fans can also LIVE stream the match on Foxtel GO (for Foxtel subscribers).