Wales to face ‘refreshed' Wallabies

Mon, 25 Nov 2013 18:18
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Wales will face a refreshed Wallaby side in their final Test of the year at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Wales will face a refreshed Wallaby side in their final Test of the year at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday according to one of Australia's key men.

Former skipper James Horwill reckons the controversial suspension of six players for drinking 'inappropriate' levels of alcohol before the win over Ireland will have a positive effect on performance levels in Cardiff.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Cummins, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill all sat out last Saturday's 21-15 win over Scotland but are now available - with Paddy Ryan the only member of the “Dublin Six” set to serve his one-match ban this weekend - as the Australians look to end a long season on a major high.

And Horwill says their availability and enthusiasm will be a massive boost in the quest to match last season's last-gasp victory in the capital.

"Guys that might not have had a week off, have had a week off, and didn't wake up this morning feeling sore and sorry for themselves, or like they've been run over by a bus," said Horwill, who was replaced as captain by Ben Mowen but has played in all four tour games so far.

"That is a silver lining if you want to look at it that way, that guys have had a chance to freshen up, because we'll need their energy and enthusiasm this week."

Horwill faced off against a large proportion of the Wales team during the British and Irish Lions tour of his homeland in June/July, a tour in which the Lions secured their first series victory since 1997 despite the momentum appearing to have been with the Wallabies after their second Test success in Melbourne.

The 28-year-old second row admits that the series decider in Sydney may act as a confidence booster for the Welsh contingent this weekend but he insists that Saturday is a whole new ball game, especially as his side seem to be progressing quickly under new boss Ewen McKenzie following successive wins over Italy, Ireland and Scotland.

"Talking to some of the Welsh guys [after the third Lions Test], it was the first time they'd beaten an Australia team ever," said Horwill.

"But the Lions team is the Lions team and, while it had a strong Welsh tinge, it was a different side and a different game, so the individuals might take something out of that but Wales is a completely different kettle of fish.

"As a team we've been a bit inconsistent and we've had some really good moments and really poor moments. When you look at the good teams in the world, the reason they're good is that they turn up every week, no matter what the conditions or where they're playing, and perform.

"That's what we need to do, that's what Test rugby's about. That consistency is coming and the back end of this trip has been good for that, and we need to continue that playing in a pretty hostile environment."