Liam Williams Rugby World Cup 2019: A five-step plan for Wales to beat Australia in Pool D showdown

Liam Williams Rugby World Cup 2019: A five-step plan for Wales to beat Australia in Pool D showdown

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Rugby World Cup group stages, Australia and Wales go head to head in a showdown that promises high-octane drama, world-class rugby and the likely guarantee of a first-place finish in Pool D.” data-reactid=”25″ type=”text”>In the second heavyweight collision of the Rugby World Cup group stages, Australia and Wales go head to head in a showdown that promises high-octane drama, world-class rugby and the likely guarantee of a first-place finish in Pool D.

In their last encounter, it was the Welsh who emerged victorious, winning 9-6 in Cardiff last November to end a 13-Test losing streak against the Wallabies.

Fans and neutrals alike will be hoping to avoid a repeat of such a slugfest, but when push comes to shove victory is all that matters. With that in mind, here we outline our own five-step for beating Australia and taking a second step forward to a place in the knockout stages.

Blitz Australia from the off

The opening 20 minutes of this match could be crucial. Wales showcased their ability to hit the ground running against Georgia, scoring after just two minutes, while Australia went the other way against Fiji. Heading into half-time, Michael Cheika’s men found themselves 14-12 down after a slow and loose start.

The Wallabies clawed their way back into that match but against a side like Wales, such a fightback might not be an option. An early Welsh blitz can therefore provide Warren Gatland’s side with the foundations they need to control the flow of the rest of the game. Of course, Australia pose a very different challenge to Georgia. So how do Wales get under their opponents’ skin early on?

Target the Wallabies’ backline

Wales tested the full range of their aerial-based assaults against Georgia, reaping rich rewards. Against Australia, a similar approach must be deployed.

With Israel Folau absent, Australia’s backline will find itself susceptible to the box kicks of Gareth Davies and high balls of Dan Bigger. With Dane Haylett-Petty stepping in to replace Kurtley Beale at full-back, see how he fares under aerial bombardment while George North’s 14cm height advantage over winger Marika Koroibete must be utilised.

It’s always a gamble handing possession back to opposing teams, especially one of Australia’s calibre, but Wales cannot afford to be conservative when the stakes are this high.

Test the waters with a rush defence

Wales know that their opponents are prone to careless errors – that as much was clear against Fiji, with the Wallabies repeatedly dropping play in the first half due to poor handling. While the aerial ball is one avenue to explore in forcing mistakes, Gatland’s men shouldn’t be afraid to test the water with a rush defence.

Such an approach can leave teams vulnerable in behind, as South Africa found out against New Zealand once they had adjusted

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