Here's how to ambush the wilting Wallabies

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The Independent Online

Trusting that Wales have fully recovered their spirit and confidence, they can give Australia a game if they get their tactical approach exactly right.

And who better to plan those tactics than Graham Henry who spent most of the summer examining the Australian team very closely indeed and came near to leading the Lions to a victorious series.

He will have a lot of personal pride riding on this game and the mind battles between him and Aussie coach Eddie Jones will be a fascinating part of today's contest.

It will be an advantage that the Welsh role is reversed. Instead of being expected to do well they will be the definite underdogs while Australia will be carrying all the pressure after defeats by England and France.

This was always going to be the easiest game of their tour but suddenly it looms as vitally important. And I'm not certain they will be in the best physical state because if anyone has a right to be tired it is Australia.

The Lions tour would have taken a lot out of them and since then they've had the Tri-Nations and, now, two demanding games in Europe. And losing saps your strength more than winning.

The odds are still heavily in their favour but Wales have what it takes to ambush their visitors if they can hold their own in the right departments.

For a start, they have to try to starve the Aussies of possession. I expect to see plenty of catch and drives from the line-outs because both the Lions and England had success in doing that.

Attacking the short side is another policy they should follow. Australia are so well organised on the open side but the blind side can be exploited by 9, 10 and 15.

Scott Quinnell will, as usual, be a major part of Wales' armoury but he will hardly be a surprise because he caused so much trouble with the Lions. I believe they should make more use of him as a decoy but he needs support on both sides for this to work.

Keeping Australia short of possession means Wales not surrendering the ball in the manner they've been doing lately. A good, intelligent kicking game is essential and mistakes have got to be reduced.

Iestyn Harris showed in the second half against Tonga that his brilliance hasn't gone away. It's just been waiting for opport-unities. He won't find them plentiful today but he'll be more effective if his colleagues live off him. When he crabs sideways across the field, runners have to be hitting the holes either side of him. If he doesn't get that support, Australia will make crab-meat out of him.

Wales must also stop being slaves to their fixed structure of phase play. Of course, phases are important but too often players are so concerned in setting themselves up for the next phase they are defensively vulnerable if it breaks down or are not ready to make the most of a sudden opportunity.

They must have the freedom to depart from the script if a hole appears. It is what happened against Tonga and some of those Welsh have the instincts and the pace to improvise successfully.

Defensively, they have to watch George Gregan. He has this knack of putting players through gaps around the rucks and mauls. He is expert at popping up passes to his runners and that's how they gain impetus. I am glad to see Henry alerting everyone to an Australian ploy that is illegal but which they often get away with. Stephen Larkham will pass behind his runners so that they form a shield for the player who receives the ball.

This is a deliberate attempt to obstruct the tacklers and the only way to counter it is to run into the decoys and therefore force the referee to penalise them.

England and France have shown how Australia can be beaten. You have to match them physically and live with their pace. Pace, as usual, is going to be so important and if Wales have not learned that bitter lesson in the last few weeks they never will.

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