Wallabies confident, not complacent, ahead of Wales

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Kurtley Beale says the Wallabies have a mental edge over Wales, but that won’t turn into complacency next weekend.

Australia has won 12 consecutive matches against Wales dating back to 2009, but many of those have been decided by single figure margins.

Last year’s 32-8 victory is the biggest gap of any of their recent meetings, an emphatic start to Australia’s Spring Tour.

Beale was not part of that team, instead playing for Premiership side Wasps in the UK, but was in the gritty win over the Welsh in the World Cup a year earlier.

“In the past we have always backed ourselves to get them in the final minutes,” he said.

“That same mindset we've been taking through the Rugby Championship and it’ll be no different in these games.

“We normally play in Cardiff in one of the first games of the tour,” he said.

“I've got all the confidence in guys to get everything right to take it to the Welsh... and they know the history doesn't kinda help them.

“It's going to be a massive game and going to be a great test for us as a group.”

The Wallabies know intimately how history can mount on a team, in a constant battle to beat New Zealand, something they have done just twice in their past nine outings.

That pain gives the Wallabies insight into the other side of the coin, one they desperately want to avoid, Beale said.

“It always hurts (when you’re on the other side) but look at our record against the All Blacks up until the last couple of weeks until we broke it and it was one of the best feelings ever,” he said.

“(That was) a huge relief. Obviously flipping it on the other side we know that feeling so that gives us a bit of a background what they'll be feeling leading into this game.

“It's going to put extra focus on our preparation and make sure we are not distracted so we get the job done.”

The Welsh have looked to ready themselves for the Wallabies with a tougher lead-in, holding an opposed session with England in recent weeks and will pose a far greater physical threat than Japan, whom Australia comfortably outsized in pretty much every position.

Beale looks likely to return to 12 in Cardiff, if Karmichael Hunt (neck) is fit, with the latter the first-choice to replace Israel Folau (sabbatical) for the tour.

Wallabies back Reece Hodge said jumping out to a strong start would be critical, after running away with the game last year.

“I think it’s up to us to start really well and get some confidence from the first part of the game and really as we’ve talked about the past few games, keep it going throughout the game,” he said.

“We’ve probably had momentary lapses that have let us down a bit and put too much pressure on ourselves.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge but a lot of work to do this week.”

The Wallabies travel to Cardiff on Sunday, ahead of next Saturday's Test against Wales.

Australia takes on Wales at Millennium Stadiun on Sunday November 12, kicking off at 4:15am AEDT LIVE on beIn SPORTS and SBS.