Wales aim to salvage pride in 3rd test vs Aust
By KEIRAN SMITH
SYDNEY (AP) After coming within a minute of a series-leveling win last week, Wales captain Sam Warburton is determined not to leave Australia empty handed after Saturday's third test against the Wallabies.
Replacement flyhalf Mike Harris kicked a penalty goal after the final siren in the second test at Melbourne last week to clinch a 25-23 win for Australia and an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-test series against the Six Nations champions. That came a week after Australia dominated most of a 27-19 win over the Welsh in Brisbane.
"You've almost got to forget the last two tests. They won that series 2-0 and this is a separate (game) now," Warburton said. "We've been working real hard this week to get the win and at least leave here with a little something to show for it."
Wales last won a test on Australian soil in 1969, and the Wallabies are determined to retain that record with a 3-0 whitewash, as well as improve on the narrow wins of the previous two matches.
"We've prepared well this week. There were a lot of things we wanted to improve (from the second test) and a lot we got out of the last game," Australia captain David Pocock said after Friday's training run. "It definitely isn't a performance we want to reproduce."
Fullback Kurtley Beale will make his long awaited return from injury to the Wallabies lineup, offering extra impetus and added playmaking options.
Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny, a standout this tour, is well aware of the damage Beale is capable of causing.
Beale "is without a doubt up there with the best fullbacks in the world and he's a quality player and he can create something out of nothing," Halfpenny said.
Warburton was just as wary of Pocock's ability to pilfer possession at the breakdown.
"If you can get him (Pocock) down to say, three turnovers, then that's quite a good job," said Warburton, who opposes Pocock as both captain and openside flanker. "Once he starts getting over that, that's when you've done a poor job.
"I think he's probably the most difficult to play against at the breakdown in my personal experience."
Wales coach Rob Howley retained the same XV for the third test, with the only movement in the squad coming on the reserves bench where hooker Ken Owens replaces Richard Hibbard.
"This Wales team was within around 30 seconds of beating the Wallabies on their home patch for the first time in 43 years (in the second test)," Howley said. "The challenge now is to go one better than that and make sure we are ahead on the scoreboard, not just when the hooter goes, but when the game finishes this weekend."
With Beale's return, Australia coach Robbie Deans has shifted Adam Ashley-Cooper to the wing in place of Cooper Vuna, while lock Sitaleki Timani returns at the expense of Rob Simians after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Utility back Harris, who kicked the match-winning penalty at Melbourne after coming on as a late replacement for Berrick Barnes, was omitted from the squad.
Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu overcame a bout of sickness to complete Friday's training and assume his spot in the run-on side.
Deans said some other Wallabies players were showing signs of illness, but is confident it won't affect their performance.
Kepu "was isolated yesterday. There's a few sniffles around, that accumulative effect is kicking in to some extent but having said that, I'm quite confident the boys will be up for Saturday," said Deans.
Australia squad: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia; Wycliff Palu, David Pocock (captain), Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Fainga'a.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Ashley Beck, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Ryan Jones, Sam Warburton (captain), Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Adam Jones, Matthew Rees, Gethin Jenkins. Reserves: Ken Owens, Paul James, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Scott Williams.
Updated June 21, 2012