Wales

No sideshows for Wales

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:38
Wales-dejected Wales-despondent2

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde insists that a top-eight seeding in the IRB rankings is not on the players' minds ahead of their clash with Australia.

Having slumped to losses to Argentina (26-12), Samoa (26-19) and New Zealand (33-10), Wales must avoid defeat against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday if they are to avoid a nightmare pool draw at the 2015 World Cup.

A defeat would see Wales slip into the third band of seeds for Monday's World Cup draw, but a win or a draw would see them retain their place in the second band of seeds.

"Personally no, not at all," McBryde said when asked if the rankings issue was at the forefront of his thoughts going into Saturday's match.

"As we've seen during the series and taking into account all other results into consideration as well, there isn't that much of a gulf between Tier Two and Tier Three.

"You have the top four, perhaps, and then everybody else on their day are more than a match for each other. Samoa pushed France close on the weekend.

"It's going to be tough. There are no easy matches anymore in world rugby. Whichever group we end up in for the next World Cup is going to be a tough one," he said.

Wales last defeated Australia, by three points, in 2008, but have since lost all seven matches between the two sides, including the third-place play-off at the 2011 World Cup and the summer's three-Test series.

Previously, Wales beat the Wallabies in an autumn international in 2005 and drew a year later in the similar fixture.

And McBryde said that Wales had to go into the match where they left off in the All Blacks game, where they rallied from 33-0 down to score two tries in a much more evenly contested second half, albeit with the game won for New Zealand.

"We need to start in that same vein of form and not make those silly errors that frustrated us in the first half," the former Llanelli and Wales hooker said, pinpointing openside flank David Pocock as a key player.

"He's a huge player for them, a talisman," he said of Pocock, who is slowly returning from injury.

"To have him back in the team is going to raise you again. He's akin to Richie McCaw, the influence he has on the All Blacks with regards his leadership.

"He's going to play a vital role for Australis on the weekend. It's another test for us, a test for the backrow to deal with that, but there's no reason we can't start where we left off."

McBryde added: "We've been exposed to the highest intensity of international rugby, we've had a taste of that and because we've had a taste of it we've been provided with good feedback on game management, contact skills, and decision making under pressure.

"We've got a fair reflection on where we stand and what we need to focus on because we're playing the second best team in the world and we're going to have to be at our best.

"We'll have to start in the best shape possible to give ourselves an opportunity to win this game."

AFP

RELATED ARTICLES