Preview: Wallabies vs Wales
Wales will need an improved defensive effort if they are to topple the Wallabies and level the three-Test series in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Wallabies bounced back from a disappointing loss to Scotland mid-last week to defeat Wales 27-19 last weekend and put themselves in a position to clinch the series this weekend.
The Tri-Nations champions once face off against the Six Nations champions, with the visitors knowing that Will Genia will have to be contained if they are to have a chance of squaring the series.
The Welsh have prided themselves on strong defence throughout their Six Nations campaign, conceding a mere three tries in total.
This feature of their game came undone last weekend when the Wallabies punctured holes throughout their defensive line and ran in three five-pointers.
The Wallabies will stick to the same line-up that defeated the visitors, with Kurtley Beale missing out on selection, but a few injury clouds are still concerning the Wallaby camp.
Sekope Kepu and Rebels winger Cooper Vuna will have a fitness test prior to Saturday, but Robbie Deans should have adequate cover if the duo is unable to make the field.
The tourists have announced four changes to their line-up, with Matthew Rees replacing Ken Owens at hooker, with Alun Wyn Jones slotting in at lock in place of Luke Charteris.
Ryan Jones replaces injured Toby Faletau in the back row, whilst young Ashley Beck will earn his second international Test cap for Wales.
Key Battle: Will Genia vs. Mike Phillips. Genia was instrumental in the Wallabies winning last weekend, although impressive contributions from captain David Pocock and Digby Ioane gave the Wallabies a complete edge.
We are looking to see what sort of marking tactics the Welsh are going to have against Genia this time. Phillips bares responsibility for containing Genia.
He wasn’t at his best last weekend but has the ability to win games for Wales, as he has exhibited for Bayonne this season in the French T14 league.
Last Meeting: Australia27-19 Wales (Brisbane).
Prediction: The Welsh are expecting a very physical Aussie side who are looking to wrap up the series this weekend and know the pressure is on them to win.
They have the skills, no doubt, so it will highly depend on which Welsh side and which Wallabies side shows up this weekend.
We believe the Wallabies will win but by a closer margin than last weekend. We predict a five-point win for the hosts.
Saturday 16 June: Australia vs. Wales, Melbourne (12:00)
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Cooper Vuna, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Nic White, 21 Anthony Fainga'a, 22 Mike Harris.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.