Charteris eyes Wallaby hurdle
Charteris eyes Wallaby hurdleSHARE
After a string of frustrating results against Australia towering Welsh lock Luke Charteris is confident that his team can turn things around this weekend.
The Perpignan man was part of a Welsh squad who faced the Wallabies three times over the summer in what was a hugely competitive series.
Though there were just nine points between the sides over the course of the three games, Australia won the series 3-0.
Wales now welcome Robbie Deans' side to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in the final clash of the year. And despite Wales' losses down under, Charteris knows the two teams are very evenly matched.
"Every game against them has been pretty close so we know we're capable of beating them, it's just about making sure we nail those little moments that have been costing us in the previous games," he said.
"When you play against a team that much, you start to learn little things about them. We know their individual players that little bit better but every team evolves. We've changed since we played them and I'm sure they've changed in their approach so it's not a case of we know what to expect."
With Wales suffering a number of injuries to their pack over the course of their last three games, Charteris is now the only lock still standing. Alun Wyn Jones was ruled out for the series following a shoulder injury against Argentina while Bradley Davies is unavailable this weekend following Andrew Hore's controversial forearm on him last weekend.
Davies' regional teammate Lou Reed has joined the squad and is likely to be involved against the Wallabies and Charteris knows Wales' strength in depth is really being tested.
"Second row was one of the positions when we started this campaign where we'd have said we've got brilliant strength in depth," added the giant Perpignan lock.
"But we've been going on for a while about how we've improved as a squad with the strength in depth and now is the time to test it.
"I thought Scott Andrews had a brilliant game when he came on last weekend, he held the scrum up brilliantly. Normally if you say you lose Adam Jones and the second and third choice behind him you'd be struggling but Scott did brilliantly."
Charteris is likely to go up against Nathan Sharpe on Saturday as the Australian captain plays his 116th and final game for the Wallabies. And while Charteris acknowledges Sharpe as one of the best locks in world rugby over the last decade, he knows they are far more than just a one man team.
"It's going to be a physical game just as every game in this campaign has been," he commented.
"The Australians are no different and there'll be more tired bodies after Saturday, hopefully they'll be wearing a smile instead of a frown afterwards.
"They're very athletic and have got some good ball carriers in their front row. They get around the park and get their hands on the ball to free up the likes of Pocock to do what he does.
"A run of defeats is not what you want and we certainly want to put an end to it for our own piece of my mind.
"This game takes on extra significance with the World Cup draw coming off it but like any Test match you go out there to win."