Wales singing from Kiwi songbook

Sun, 24 Jun 2012 19:23
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Australian coach Robbie Deans expects Wales to become an even bigger threat as they continue to evolve.

Australian coach Robbie Deans expects Wales to become an even bigger threat as they continue to evolve and integrate aspects of the All Black battle plan into their game.

Deans, speaking to the media after his team's 3-0 series sweep of the Welsh, admitted his team had the "perfect" trial run ahead of the new Rugby Championship that gets underway in August.

The Welsh - who pushed the Aussies all the way in the last two Tests, which required late penalties for 25-23 and 20-19 wins - were described by the Wallaby mentor as All Black-like.

"Their capacity to play, their ability to play for 80 minutes, they have threats across the ground and they are capable of beating any side in the world," Deans said of the Welsh.

"I would say by the time we get over there at the end of the year they'll be refreshed and lying in wait not only for us but for the All Blacks as well. I think they have a great opportunity over there this year."

But before that the Wallabies face the All Blacks in back-to-back Tests to start the Rugby Championship - which will also see the Springboks and Pumas compete for Southern hemisphere supremacy.

And this, according to Deans, is where the close wins over the Welsh will be invaluable.

"We couldn't have had a better opponent I don't think to prepare us for what's coming," Deans said of the Championship, which gets underway on August 18.

"Because the Welsh play 80 minutes, they look to attack when they sniff an opportunity, turnover ball from their own goal line doesn't concern them and that's classically New Zealand.

"They're the two key traits that New Zealanders possess and they're probably the two key traits we have to master in order to get home."

Deans pointed to his team's steely control at critical times as the difference in the series.

"Mainly the composure. The leadership group has done a great job and that's been evident at the death in each instance, so that stuff comes forward," he said.

Australian captain David Pocock praised the leadership of halfbacks Will Genia and Berrick Barnes for getting the Wallabies home in each Test.

"I thought Berrick and Will did a great job directing us around the field in the last 10-15 minutes and those are the games you want to win," Pocock said.

"It was a real arm-wrestle and we managed to get ourselves into a winning position and then hold on in the end."

Deans said the expanded Rugby Championship incorporating Argentina made things tougher, but he's happy with the groundwork set against Wales.

Australia appeared headed for defeat in Melbourne and Sydney, but showed composure to work towards match-winning opportunities at the death.

"It's going to be the toughest Rugby Championship ever I think. It just goes up, year-to-year the ante just keeps going up," Deans said.

"We [Australia and New Zealand] know each other very well, we play each other a lot, we've been playing each other four times per annum since 2008.

"We're capable of it. But so are they."

Sources: AFP & NZ Newswire