Australia unchanged for Wales clash

Australia coach Robbie Deans has named an unchanged matchday 22 for his side’s James Bevan Trophy clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Australia coach Robbie Deans has named an unchanged matchday 22 for his side’s James Bevan Trophy clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Deans had been widely expected to stick with the men who had performed so admirably in last weekend’s 26-24 triumph over New Zealand in Hong Kong.

Fourteen members of the starting XV have previous experience of playing at the Millennium Stadium, with Western Force number eight Ben McCalman the only exception.

Winger James O’Connor, 20, is set to take over the kicking duties this weekend after landing two testing conversions late on to seal that win over the All Blacks, with Matt Giteau’s recent struggles with the boot continuing in Hong Kong.

Coach Deans said: “Ultimately what we are aiming for is back-to-back victories and to achieve that would be great.

“Obviously it was a fillip getting the result last week. Critically, we need the team to recognise what it took to put ourselves in that position and not to take that for granted.

“We need to ensure that our preparation during the week is on the money, otherwise it will start the decline in standards which will result in the decline of the performance on the weekend.

“To that end we’ve made a great start. We think we are on task and what we’re looking for out of the game itself will be the added elements that we haven’t previously been doing consistently,

particularly some of our decisions around when to play and when to look for field position in the last 20 minutes of the game.

“Last weekend we showed a significant improvement in our decision-making which is something that we’d focused on, but we need to ensure that it doesn’t taper.”

Australia team to play Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, November 6.

K Beale; J O’Connor, A Ashley-Cooper, M Giteau, D Mitchell; Q Cooper, W Genia; B Robinson, S Moore, B Alexander, M Chisholm, N Sharpe, R Elsom (capt), D Pococok, B McCalman.

Replacements: S Faingaa, J Slipper, D Mumm, R Brown, L Burgess, B Barnes, L Turner.

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