A week after Wales managed a reasonable containing job on New Zealand’s fly-half superstar Dan Carter, their task does not get any easier.
Gatland said: “When Dan Carter is on top of his game and dominating, the All Blacks get a flow, and it’s the same with Australia and Giteau. They are very reliant on his kicking game, but also his running game. We’ve just got to make sure we shut down his space.
“He is deceptively strong in the tackle area, he runs nice lines and he knows when to take a gap. For me, those two (out-half) positions the last couple of weeks have been pretty critical. We did a lot of work last week (on Carter), and it will be the same sort of approach this week in terms of trying to shut down Matt’s game.”
Gatland has made two changes to his team for the autumn Test finale, with Scarlets wing Mark Jones replacing Cardiff Blues’ teenage sensation Leigh Halfpenny and lock Ian Gough taking over from his injured Ospreys colleague Ian Evans. Victory over Australia – something last achieved in 2005 – could see Wales climb from their present IRB world ranking of sixth.
A win by 15 points or more – and an England defeat against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday – could even lift Wales into the top four seeds bracket ahead of next Monday’s 2011 World Cup draw in London.
WALES: L Byrne (Ospreys); M Jones (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Gloucester); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Powell (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), D Jones (Scarlets), M Roberts (Scarlets), J Hook (Ospreys), A Bishop (Ospreys).
AUSTRALIA: D Mitchell; P Hynes, R Cross, S Mortlock (capt), D Ioane; M Giteau, L Burgess; B Robinson, S Moore, A Baxter, M Chisholm, N Sharpe, H McMeniman, P Waugh, R Brown.
Replacements: A Freier, M Dunning, D Mumm, G Smith, S Cordingley, Q Cooper, L Tuqiri/A Ashley-Cooper.