Wales

Last chance saloon for Wales

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 06:55
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Wales field an unchanged side for the third Test of their Australian tour  in Sydney after falling just short of victory last weekend.

Wales were only denied a win last week by a last-minute penalty from Mike Harris, but the stane starting XV will have another opportunity to make amends.

The bench shows one change with Scarlets hooker Ken Owens, who started the first Test two weeks ago in Brisbane, coming in to replace Ospreys front rower Richard Hibbard, who misses out on this occasion.

"We know what we have to do to beat Australia, but there is a difference between knowing how to win and achieving that aim," said Wales caretaker head coach Rob Howley.

"This Wales team was within around 30 seconds of beating the Wallabies on their home patch for the first time in 43 years, the challenge now is to go one better than that and make sure we are ahead on the scoreboard, not just when the hooter goes, but when the game finishes this weekend.

"The players can take some credit for the way they played for the large part of the match on Saturday, but that will be scant consolation if we don't come home with a win in this Series.

"We have risen to our highest position (4th) in the IRB World rankings because of our performances so far this season, which can have positive repercussions for the 2015 World Cup, but now we want to stay there and that means coming away with the spoils on Saturday."

Leigh Halfpenny's 13-point haul last week means he has broken into the top 10 list of all-time points scorers in Welsh international rugby. The Blues fullback and wing goes straight in at number eight ahead of 1970s flyhalf Phil Bennett with 168 points in just 34 internationals.

He now needs 33 points to progress above Gareth Thomas who is in seventh, but is some way off his mentor and kicking coach Neil Jenkins, who heads the list with 1,049 points.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.

Date: Saturday, June 23
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 15.00 (05.00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jonathon White (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

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