Wales Play Australia in the 1st Test of the Autumn Series on Saturday, 5th November 2016
The last time Wales beat Australia was on Saturday 29th November 2008. In a packed Millennium Stadium, both sides crossed for two tries each. Shane Williams and Lee Byrne scored for Wales, with Digby Ioane and Mark Chisholm replying for the Wallabies in a 21-18 victory. The deciding factor was outside-half Stephen Jones, who kicked 2 penalties, 1 conversion and a drop goal. Highlights of the match can be seen on the WRU’s YouTube channel.
In the 8 years since that last victory, Wales have played Australia 11 times, losing on every occasion. Some games have been close (8 of the 11 have been lost by less than 7 points), but the facts remain the same. Wales struggle to beat Australia.
Playing in that last winning test match in 2008 were 3 players who can expect to be part of the Wales squad for the Autumn internationals. In the front row, there is the Peter Pan of Welsh rugby, Gethin Jenkins. In the 2nd row, there is the powerhouse of Alun Wyn Jones. And in the inside-centre is the colossus that is Jamie Roberts.
All 3 players also tasted the sweetness of victory on the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2013.
So what, if anything is different this time?
Rob Howley steps up into the position of Head Coach whilst Warren Gatland takes a sabbatical with the Lions. Matt Sherratt from the Cardiff Blues has been drafted in to look after the backs. The incumbents of Shaun Edwards and Neil Jenkins remain.
There are doubts over the fitness of some key players. Sam Warbuton’s broken cheekbone may means that he misses the series, although our injury list is nothing like the growing one facing England.
The more expansive style that Wales played in New Zealand was applauded throughout world rugby circles, but doesn’t that just play into the Wallabies hands?
Certainly, Australia are smarting after a tough Rugby Championship and the performances of Wales in the summer have been given greater credence as the All Blacks dominated the tournament.
There is one thing for certain. This will be uncompromising, tough rugby that is not for the fainthearted. And maybe it is time for the Wales team to carve out a little history and make Jenkins, Jones and Roberts winners in red jerseys once again.
Prior to the test match, Legends Hospitality, will be hosting hospitality at the Radisson Hotel in Cardiff. In a private function area, there is a private bar and hot meal.
Wales and Lions great, Dafydd James, is the guest speaker, talking about his playing and pundit career in rugby. The intimacy of the event means that people get the opportunity to meet and talk to Dafydd as well as having their photo taken and getting signatures. The event is an ideal and inexpensive way to start the day without having to fight the crowds in search of a drink or to get some food.
For more information, please contact Paul Fielding on:
Phone: 01656 782252 or 07768 418308
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