Hansen relying on surprise to upset Wallabies

Click to follow

The Wales coach Steve Hansen believes his team will have a few surprises for Australia today after learning from Ireland's defeat by the world champions last week.

"Australia play a structured game, and we have been working on ways to interrupt that structure," he said yesterday. "The Ireland Test was a funny game in that the Irish were in it for about an hour and then fell away. We watched and saw some things.

"Our camp in New Zealand has allowed us to work on some ideas well away from Australian spies. I know only too well what goes on from the last Lions tour. The different environment has been good for the older guys and the new boys, and really this is a learning tour for us."

Wales have often struggled in the southern hemisphere, but are determined to show they can compete at the Olympic Stadium. Martyn Williams, their new captain, said: "There's no point in being here if we don't go out there with a belief."

Hansen added: "It's not really about results right now, it's about taking other positives out of the game. If we stick to our game plan, I feel certain we will get plenty of positives to take on to the New Zealand game and into the World Cup."

He acknowledged that the turmoil in Welsh rugby last season had made preparation harder, but said: "We've become mentally a lot tougher because of the flak back home. Most of the people who have been throwing the flak are the same people who got us in the mess in the first place. Our administration has been poor, and we have far too many club teams to support the number of players we have. There is light at the end of the tunnel once those selfish people who didn't want to give up what they had are moved aside."

Australia are not under-estimating their opponents. George Gregan, the Wallabies' captain, said: "Wales will be tough. They play with a lot of passion and they have an enthusiastic young team."

Toutai Kefu, Australia's pack leader, added: "Playing against the Irish umbrella defence was something new. It's not something you see much in the southern hemisphere, and this Wales pack will pose new problems."

The Wallabies have made one change from the side that beat Ireland 45-16, with the New South Wales flanker Phil Waugh replacing the injured George Smith.

The last time Wales beat Australia was in the third and fourth place play-off at the 1987 World Cup in Rotorua when they triumphed 22-21. Australia have not lost to Wales on home soil since 1969.

Australia: C Latham; W Sailor (both Queensland), M Turinui (NSW), S Kefu (Queensland), J Roff (ACT); E Flatley (Queensland), G Gregan (ACT, capt); B Young, J Paul (both ACT), P Noriega (NSW), N Sharpe (Queensland), D Giffin (ACT), D Lyons (NSW), P Waugh (NSW), T Kefu (Queensland). Replacements: B Cannon (NSW), B Darwin, D Vickerman (both ACT), D Heenan (Queensland), C Whitaker, N Grey, L Tuqiri (all NSW).

Wales: R Williams (Cardiff); M Jones (Llanelli), J Robinson (Cardiff), M Taylor (Swansea), T Shanklin (Saracens); S Jones (Llanelli), G Cooper (Bath); I Thomas (Llanelli), R McBryde (Llanelli), G Jenkins (Pontypridd), G Llewellyn (Neath), R Sidoli (Pontypridd), J Thomas (Swansea), M Williams (Cardiff, capt), C Charvis (Swansea). Replacements: M Davies (Pontypridd), B Evans (Cardiff), C Wyatt (Llanelli), A Popham (Leeds), D Peel (Llanelli), C Sweeney (Pontypridd), G Henson (Swansea).

Referee: M Lawrence (South Africa).