7:40pm Sunday 3rd June 2012
By Iwan Davies
WALES have the potential to upset Australia this weekend, according to Justin Tipuric, man of the match in Satur-day’s 30-21 win over the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium.
The outstanding Ospreys flanker was magnificent once again as he keeps the heat on Wales’ number-one choice openside, captain Sam Warburton.
The 22-year-old Tipuric made a number of crucial turnovers, one resulted in promising young wing Harry Robinson scorching in from over halfway to score a try on his debut.
Grand Slam champions Wales face last year’s Tri Nations kings Australia in Brisbane on Saturday for the first showdown of a three-match Test series.
Tipuric is looking forward to the challenge and believes Wales are well placed to chalk up their first win over the Wallabies in Australia since their solitary victory in 1969.
“It’s my first tour and I’m looking forward to it and we know we’ve got the potential to turn them over so it’s an exciting time,” he said.
“It was important to get the win over the Barbarians and keep the momentum going.
“It was a tough game on Saturday – the Baa-Baas were very physical and very aggressive. We did what we had to do and came away with the win. All credit to the Barbarians – they made it a proper Test match. It looked like they’d been together for a while, the way they played.
“They were good as a team and well structured.”
On his duel with Warburton, Wales’ 23-year-old Grand Slam skipper and leader at the autumn’s World Cup which saw Wales go agonisingly close to reaching the final, Tipuric said: “Sam’s captain and he’s a good player and he shows that week in, week out.
“For me, I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground and as long as I play with a smile on my face, that’s what I’m here to do.
“I wake up in the morning and it’s a pleasure being a professional rugby player.”
He added that their rivalry can only be good for the side’s progress: “Sam and I push each other to be the best players we can. It’s the same in any team – you’ve got to have competition to make sure you’re fighting for that place all the time.”
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