The Autumn Internationals will be in full swing this Saturday, and one of the most anticipated games of the day will be Wales hosting Australia in Cardiff.
Wales isn`t doing that great at the moment. The hosts had a rather poor 2017 so far, finishing second to last in the Six Nations, losing 3 of their 5 matches in that tournament. While the Welsh remain a force to be reckoned with in World Rugby, they are definitely on a bit of a downside in the last couple of years. The team is pretty old and lacks creativity, and their rugby can sometimes look rather slow and stale.
Australia had a very good Rugby Championship, finishing second in the standings behind New Zealand, and the Wallabies seem to be in fantastic form at the moment. In their last three matches, they defeated Argentina away (by 17 points), New Zealand at home (by 5) and Japan away (by 33). The match against Japan last week was a showcase of brilliant attacking Rugby from Australia, as they scored 63 points (!!) against a good, improving Japanese side.Bet on Wales vs Australia and claim your 100% (100 Euro) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
Both teams will field their best available lineups. Australia gets back Foley and Genia (who were rested in Japan), while Wales will experiment with rookie Owen Williams at No.12, which might turn up to be a mistake, as Australian players already admitted that they will target him.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Australia has definitely improved this season and they are firing on all cylinders right now. The Wallabeis are full of confidence after the recent wins, particularly the one against New Zealand, and that is obvious from the way they play, taking risks and showing non stop aggression.
While Wales remains a hard nut to crack in Cardiff, you have to feel that they just don`t have enough right now to challenge the Wallabies. Australia is the better team here and is on the up, while Wales hasn`t looked great in quite a while. What`s worse for Wales is the fact that they simply don`t match up well against the Wallabies.
Australia has won the previous 12 (!!) H2H matches against Wales, including the last 5, which were all played in Britain (four of them in Cardiff). The two sides met in the Autumn Internationals last year as well, and Australia destroyed Wales 32-8 at this same venue.
Wales would need a lot of confidence to defeat a better and more in form team like Australia, and it`s very unlikely they can find that confidence in themselves given the H2H record and what happened last year.
The main issue for Australia coming into this match is that they had to play in Japan last week, so it has been a long travel, and the Wallabies were already on the back of many tough matches in the Rugby Championship back in September. However, Southern Hemisphere teams always have these problems when they tour the Northern Hemisphere in November, and it hasn`t stopped Australia from winning in Wales basically year after year. All in all this is a factor which must be taken into account, but Australia has a very strong squad and I don`t think this issue is big enough to stop them from winning.
Look for Australia to dominate the wide game, and their backs should make the difference here. My tip is Australia to win. Prediction: Wales – Australia 23 – 31.