Monday, 10 December, 2018

Anscombe at 10 for Wales against Australia

Adam Ashley Cooper is back in the Wallabies squad for the first time in two years GETTY IMAGESAdam Ashley Cooper is back in the Wallabies squad for the first time in two years
Cassandra Castillo | 11 November, 2018, 01:45

But Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones played down any potential great ramifications nearly 11 months away from the World Cup in Japan.

Veteran back Adam Ashley-Cooper is determined to make the most of a surprise recall to the Australia squad and stage a bid to play at next year's World Cup.

He made a cameo appearance off the bench in Yokohama but will make his first Wallabies start since the memorable win over New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium in October 2017.

"It's tough when you haven't been together for four months and you normally come up against either an Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, who have just come off a Rugby Championship. We were pleased to get a good opening win under our belts last weekend, and this Saturday is all about building on that".

"But if you look at how close a lot of those games have been, I think there's been something like seven points the difference between us and them on average over that period, less than a score in it on most occasions".

"There are games where we've been leading going into the final minutes".

"This game is important for the next 12 months". "It was sending a message to Gareth that we just didn't want to pick you for one game and then put you on the bench".

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"This will definitely be important from a confidence point of view, and yes, it's been well-documented that they are under different sorts of pressures than we are, but the pressure for us is being favourites and being able to handle it".

"We know the capabilities of Liam Williams and Josh getting an opportunity against a quality side like Australia gives us another chance to look at him".

"My main focus is to win games with Bath and be diligent as a professional every day, making sure I'm doing everything I can to become a better player", he said.

Jones is the sole survivor from that 2008 Welsh victory over the Wallabies, but insisted: "Looking too far back you can get lost looking for answers, this is all about the 80 on Saturday".

Gatland also believes outside-half Gareth Anscombe will benefit from having a run of games after impressing in last weekends victory over Scotland. "He's a great footballer, we've seen that, and these are the battles players go through sometimes". "They're a real quality side and have got some real attacking threats and some x-factor players".

Wales, he added, are "always very competitive across the board".

WALES coach Warren Gatland has quashed suggestions his side will feel the weight of a decade-long losing streak against the Wallabies this weekend, instead declaring it is Australia under pressure.

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