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Posts Tagged ‘Autumn Internationals’

It was another rather unimpressive display from Wales; we beat Japan thanks to a last minute drop goal by replacement fly half Sam Davies. Japan are a much improved side, and the days of thrashing them are over I think, but really Wales should have won this game by more. It was another stuttering performance, and we failed to take many of our chances.

It did seem that Jamie Roberts, who was dropped for the game against Argentina, was out to prove a point, as he had a very good game. But, I am not a fan of Jamie Roberts. What he does, he does very well, as good as anyone in world rugby. But, for me, he is far too one-dimensional. There is little¬†variety to his game; he is a world class tackler and a world class battering ram, but beyond that I don’t see what else he does. I would much prefer that Wales go with the more varied and skilful play of Scott Williams, I think this can add variety to our attacking game in a way which having Jamie Roberts at inside centre cannot.

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Wales beat Japan 33-30, thanks to a last minute drop goal by replacement fly half

It will be interesting to see which combinations Rob Howley picks for our match against South Africa next Saturday. Luckily for Wales, this South African team seem to be amongst the worst in their history. On Saturday they lost for the first time to Italy, going down 20-18. This puts England’s thumping of them into some kind of perspective, but Wales cannot afford to lose next week to such a poor South African team. Not only do we need to win, but we need to win with a convincing performance, something we are yet to show this autumn despite two wins out of three.

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The waiting is nearly over. At 5pm today, Wales will take on Australia in the long anticipated showdown between the two countries. As the table below shows, including the match at the World Cup in October 2011, Wales have played Australia a total of 6 times in the last two years, and have lost on each occasion, usually narrowly. Of the three Southern Hemisphere “superpowers”, Australia are the country Wales have beaten the most, and the country Wales have beaten the most in the professional era.



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Having won the 6 Nations in March by annihilating England 30-3 in the final match, and a successful Lions’ tour where Wales contributed 10 of the starting lineup in the 3rd and decisive Test, beating Australia today could cap a very successful 2013 for the Welsh team and for Warren Gatland and his coaching team. I also believe that, if we win, it will really boost our confidence ahead of what I expect to be a very competitive 2014 6 Nations. Thankfully we will have Alex Cuthbert back in the team, and despite our injury problems in the centre I believe Wales are fielding a very strong team.



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I saw yesterday morning that the Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has ratcheted things up nicely by saying that Wales are “worried” about falling to their ninth straight loss to Australia. Certainly it’s not a good record.



Wales have a woeful record against the three Southern Hemisphere "giants".

Wales have a woeful record against the three Southern Hemisphere “giants”.



England look resurgent, and France and Ireland also look vastly improved from earlier this year. The 2014 6 Nations sees Wales play England in Twickenham, which is a place we have only won 3 times in the last 25-odd years. Beating Australia today will boost Wales’ players’ confidence hugely, and Wales are very much a team whose style of play works so much better when they are playing with self belief. So DERE ‘MLAEN CYMRU, let’s beat Australia today and get that particular monkey off our back!

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It was Wales’ first Autumn test victory since 2009, a convincing 40-6 demolition of Argentina. It was even sweeter after the battering we suffered last Saturday from South Africa in losing 24-15.



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The Wales coaching team will be delighted with this performance. We dominated in all aspects of play. Most pleasing to me was (a) keeping Argentina from scoring a try and (b) the good support running whenever a Welsh player made a break. This was something that was lacking against South Africa last weekend. It was a marked improvement by the Wales team, we even scored a try from a rolling maul which is no mean feat against Argentina. How do Wales gauge beating Argentina by this convincing score? The last time Argentina won an international was against Wales in Cardiff last Autumn, when they beat us 26-12. Here are Argentina’s results since that game of last year.


Argentina’s results since beating Wales last November
Month Teams Score
November 2012 Wales v Argentina 12-26
France v Argentina 39-22
Ireland v Argentina 48-24
June 2013 Argentina v England 3-32
Argentina v England 26-51
August 2013 South Africa v Argentina 73-13
Argentina v South Africa 17-22
September 2013 New Zealand v Argentina 26-13
Australia v Argentina 14-13
Argentina v New Zealand 15-33
October 2013 Argentina v Australia 17-54
November 2013 England v Argentina 31-12
Wales v Argentina 40-6



What can we take from this? Well, Wales’ victory is as heavy a defeat as pretty much any side has inflicted upon Argentina in this last year. In addition, Argentina nearly beat Australia in September away from home, only going down 14-13, and gave South Africa a good run for their money in August at home, only losing 17-22. So, I think Wales should take great pride from beating a team who are clearly no pushover, and to beat them in such convincing fashion is even better.

It is sobering to think that this was Wales’ first victory in an Autumn international since we beat Argentina in 2009. In 2010 we managed a draw against Fiji and losses to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. In 2011 we only played one “Autumn” test as it was the Rugby World Cup, we played Australia in December and lost. And, of course last year we lost all four Autumn internationals in a rather dismal fashion.

Wales have a game against Tonga on Friday, before the big game against Australia on Saturday the 30th. That is the big game for Wales this Autumn series. Realistically, we were not expecting to beat South Africa, but if we don’t manage to beat Australia then I think the Welsh players, coaching team and supporters will consider the 2013 Autumn series to have been a failure. Beat Australia, and we will go into the 2014 Six Nations with confidence that we can retain the title for an unprecedented third year in a row!

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