By Rhys Thomas
June 8 2012
This current Welsh side want to be the first since 1969 to win on Australian soil - and there's a very real sense of expectancy surrounding the tour.
Without a doubt this is Wales’ best chance of a victory in the Southern Hemisphere for a long time. Australia lost to Scotland on Tuesday, and although it wasn’t a first rate Wallabies team it could well be a pointer to what happens on Saturday. Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale are under investigation by the ARU after a ‘scuffle at a Brisbane hotel’. Perhaps all is not well within the Australian camp.
Wales go into this match as favourites in my view. They’re unbeaten since December (where they lost to Australia) and have played some extraordinary yet pragmatic Rugby. The ‘Second String’ also defeated the Barbarians last week, which will undoubtedly give the whole squad a confidence boost. The Wallabies are there for the taking – they aren’t at full strength and have a fresh Rugby League convert on the wing. Cooper Vuna will be up against George North. Enough said, North is the best winger in World Rugby at the moment, let’s hope for the Aussies’ sake that Vuna is prepared to tackle himself into the ground.
The Welsh are practically at full strength apart from Jamie Roberts. Triple Crown hero Scott Williams takes his place, and it shows the quality that Wales have that a player like Williams can be brought into the starting line up. Inspirational Captain and Openside Flanker Sam Warburton returns for his first game since the Grand Slam match against the French. He will be part of a fascinating match up against David Pocock, who is also captain. Two of the best Number 7’s in the world, it’s a mouth-watering prospect.
As long as the weather is fine, we should be in for a top game. Both sides play an exciting brand of Rugby, and it will be great to see the likes of North and Cuthbert hit their stride Down Under. In this first test I think Wales will have too much over their opponents. Rob Howley will want a series win to add to his CV, and what better chance will he have than now.
PREDICTION: Wales to win by 7