WALES v AUSTRALIA (Saturday, KO 2.30)
CENTRE Scott Williams has acknowledged that Wales face an autumn whitewash if they allow Australia’s sharp ball players to get off to a flyer on Saturday.
Much was made of last weekend’s fightback in the 33-10 defeat to world champions New Zealand when they created their first two tries of the Cardiff series.
But talk of drawing the second half 10-10 comprehensively misses the point – by then the All Blacks had started emptying their bench and switched off ahead of their autumn finale against England.
New Zealand were some way short of their best yet still had too much pace and power for Sam Warburton’s men.
Given that the Wallabies drew with the All Blacks at the end of last month – the only time the Kiwis have failed to win in 20 games – more of the same can be expected at the Millennium Stadium. If Wales are to avoid a sixth defeat to the Aussies in just over 13 months then they cannot be sluggish come 2.30pm on Saturday.
“Australia play an open game with the same high intensity as last Saturday,” said 22-year-old Williams. “We will have to live with that.
“Their back three look sharp and they like to run in the No 9 and 10 channel. They’re all pretty good ball players and we will need to nullify them.
“They’ll be quite similar, although maybe not quite as good as New Zealand, and they tend to turn nothing into something so we have to make sure we switch on for the full 80 minutes.
“By the final 30 against the All Blacks we had got used to the intensity and pace of the game and caused them problems.
“It was much quicker than Six Nations matches. Southern hemisphere teams tend to play at a much higher intensity but it was up another step against New Zealand.
“We need to take that same intensity into the match with Australia.”
Williams, scorer of the try against the All Blacks from the ‘all-in’ 13-man lineout, is waiting to see if he will get the start against the Wallabies.
He came off the bench in the opening quarter when Jamie Roberts suffered a hip injury and the Cardiff Blues man was not taking part in training in the early part of this week.
But Williams did his starting hopes no harm when he linked up with Scarlets teammate Jonathan Davies in midfield against the world class pair of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith. “I enjoyed playing against Nonu and tried my best to stop him – he’s definitely a big unit! They only looked threatening off turnover and counter-attacks so I was pleased with that,” he said.