22nd June 2012
Australia v Wales 3rd Test: A match too far for resilient Wales
Wales will find it difficult to get themselves up for this match knowing that Austalia have already won the series and the fact that they let a last gasp penalty deny them a first victory on Aussie soil since 1969.
Having lost the first test 27 -19 where Australia always looked as if they had another gear, Wales increased the intensity last week and led that match for 71 out of the 80 minutes of play. Leading the match at 23-22 going in to the final minute of play Rhys Priestland did the unthinkable and kicked the ball straight to Adam Ashley Cooper who was waiting inside his own 22. Wales then went on to concede a penalty which Mark Harris converetd handing Austalia the win an along with an unassailable series victory too.
Despite those defeats Wales have competed extremely well in both tests and as a result have climbed to fourth in the IRB World rankings. The biggest let down has been the form of Priestland. With kicking duties now with Halfpenny you would think that a huge weight would have been lifted from Priestlands shoulders but he looks a man bereft of confidence.
Wales can win this third test but I think you will see Australia really trun the screw this match. Kurtley Beale starts for them this week at fullback with Adam Ashley Cooper switching to his preferred position on the wing and that change will really strengthen the Aussies. Beale is a World class player and he will inspire added impetus to the Aussie backline. Their only other change sees Lock Sitaleki Timani replace Rob Simmons whilst Wales remain unchanged.
It really is a pity that Wales lost last week when they looked deserved winners as this match would then make it winner takes all. As it is Wales would stiil hate to leave these shores without a test victory having promised so much with their young talented side but sadly I can't see it happening.
With the shackles off Australia so to speak and with the test series in the bag I think they'll play a far more free flowing style of rugby this week and you'll see a more comprehensive victory.
My recommended bet is: Australia -3 to beat Wales at 10/11 with Boylesports
Game is live on SkySports at 6am
Author: The Hooker