TWICKENHAM, United Kingdom, Oct 9, (AFP): Wales are determined to snap their losing streak against Australia in their World Cup clash on Saturday, assistant coach Shaun Edwards said. Both countries are already through to the quarter finals. But on top of deciding who is the best in Pool A, Australia go into Saturday’s clash having beaten Wales in their last 10 games.
“Let’s make no bones about it, Australia have had the upper hand on us for the last few years, and we are pretty determined to bring our competitive edge out,” Edwards said at Twickenham on Friday.
“This is a huge game for us. We are playing against the current champions of the southern hemisphere, a team that has been in fantastic form recently.”
Both sides have already beaten England in the “Pool of Death”. For Wales, beating the Wallabies would be a psychological boost while top place would avoid South Africa in the last eight. A quarter-final against Scotland or Japan awaits the winner.
“Any team that can beat the All Blacks, which they (Australia) did in the summer, and to win the Rugby Championship you are talking about an incredibly formidable force,” added Edwards.
“When we get the ball we want to attack as much as we can, but we know what a potent offensive unit the Australians are.
“I think they scored the most tries in the Rugby Championship, and they just beat England (33-13), who are a very strong team, by 20 points, so we know what we are coming up against.”
As for Wales’ losing streak against Australia, Edwards said: “I’ve coached teams who have won 10 games on the trot, and when it has come to the 11th game I’ve said ‘forget about the last 10 lads, because this is a totally different day’, and I will be saying exactly the same.
“We feel that we have had equal preparation time.
Meanwhile, there was a royal touch to Wales’ preparations for their World Cup match against Australia when Britain’s Prince William presented the players with their match shirts on Friday.
William, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and second in line to the British throne, is a vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The Duke of Cambridge, as William is officially known, met the players at their Weybridge hotel, south-west of London, where Wales have been based ahead of their Pool A decider against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Welsh Rugby Union posted a group picture on Twitter of players with the Duke, who was flanked by forwards Paul James and Ross Moriarty.
“Huge honour for squad to receive their match jerseys from HRH The Duke of Cambridge this afternoon,” read the WRU’s accompanying tweet.
Both Wales and Australia have already qualified for the quarter-finals.
Whoever wins on Saturday, however, will top the Pool and face either Scotland or Japan in the last eight.
But for the losers a quarter-final with twice world champions South Africa, who have bounced back from a shock defeat by Japan in their tournament opener, awaits.
Earlier in this World Cup, Welsh pop singer Tom Jones presented the squad with their match shirts and the players also spent time with another famous Welshman in former undefeated boxing world champion Joe Calzaghe.
Prior to Wales’ ‘Pool of Death’ match against England, William and younger brother Harry, who holds a similar position with the English Rugby Football Union, found themselves supporting opposing teams.
William ended up on the victorious side on that occasion as Wales won a thrilling match 28-25. England subsequently lost 33-13 to Australia so Harry’s team became the first World Cup hosts to be eliminated before the knockout stages.