Oz primed for 'tough' Wales

2011-11-27 13:40
Robbie Deans (File)

London - Australia coach Robbie Deans said his side were prepared for a "tough assignment" against Wales after warming up for the Cardiff clash with a 60-11 thrashing of the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Next weekend's Millennium Stadium match is a repeat of the World Cup third place playoff the Wallabies won 21-18 in Auckland last month.

"It's ideal for us, the right order to have the games," Deans said after seeing Australia score eight tries in front of a crowd of more than 51 000 on Saturday.

"That (Wales) is going to be a tough assignment so it was good to have a hit-out before we get to the Millennium Stadium."

"We expect a lot. We have been reading it, we have been hearing it. They, like us, weren't happy with the way they exited the World Cup."

Meanwhile Deans was impressed by the performance of James O'Connor after shifting the wing to flyhalf.

O'Connor repeatedly found gaps in what was admittedly a wafer-thin Barbarian defence, even if he botched a potential try with a poor pass, and also landed eight out of nine place-kicks in a match haul of 20 points.

His all-round display was all the more impressive given his right hand, on which he later had scans, was trampled upon in the first half.

"He did well," former New Zealand international Deans said of O'Connor.

"The Test match will be a different kettle of fish but, like the team, he will be much better for that time."

The Wallabies were well beaten in their World Cup semi-final by eventual champions New Zealand while Wales were just edged out by France after captain Sam Warburton was sent off, earning a ban that meant he missed the bronze medal match.

As well as Wales wanting revenge, they have the added incentive of trying to give wing Shane Williams a winning finale in what is set to be their record try-scorer's last Test before international retirement.

"Sam (Warburton) was very frustrated not to be involved at the death and you have got Shane Williams's last fixture," said Deans. "There will be a bit of emotion there."

David Pocock, Australia's captain against the Barbarians, was excited by the prospect of facing rival flanker Warburton, saying: "I am looking forward to the battle of the breakdown."

Read more on:    international rugby  |  robbie deans

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