Wales desperate to jump Wallaby hurdle

CARDIFF. Warren Gatland may have tried to play it down but the Wales coach knows better than anyone how much it would mean to his side to beat Australia in Cardiff on Saturday.

CARDIFF. Warren Gatland may have tried to play it down but the Wales coach knows better than anyone how much it would mean to his side to beat Australia in Cardiff on Saturday.

Reigning Six Nations champions Wales may have won two European Grand Slams since Gatland became their coach in 2008 but his adopted country’s record in the same time against southern hemisphere giants New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the same period is dire, with just one win and 21 defeats.

Wales have lost their last eight tests against Australia, albeit four of those reverses have been by three points or fewer, most recently in last year’s fixture at the Millennium Stadium where Kurtley Beale’s late try condemned the Welsh to a 14-12 defeat.

The losing streak is all the more concerning for Wales given they have been drawn alongside Australia and 2015 hosts England in the same World Cup “group of death”.

Gatland tried to explain that poor run of results by saying: “People have got to be aware that probably in the past we’ve used (the November internationals) as a preparation for the Six Nations because that’s our bread and butter – these are friendlies.

Australia head into the final major international of 2013 on their best run of form of the year with successive wins over Italy, Ireland and Scotland following a tour-opening defeat by England that scuppered all hope of a Grand Slam.

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