Fit-again Beale has Wales on red alert
Kurtley Beale’s return to the Wallabies has Wales on red alert for the third and final Test in Sydney on Saturday.
Back from a shoulder injury, Beale will line up at fullback, the position he has made his own in the star-studded Wallabies backline.
Acting Wales coach Rob Howley said Beale gave his team another problem to deal with while Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny was acutely aware of the damage his Australian counterpart was capable of causing.
“He (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 on Thursday.
“Our defence will have to be on red alert when he’s got ball in hand.”
Another danger to Wales is Wallabies captain David Pocock, with his Welsh counterpart Sam Warburton revealing what would represent an almost acceptable amount of pilfers to concede to Australia’s champion No.7 scavenger.
“If you can get him (Pocock) down to say, three turnovers, then that’s quite a good job,” Warburton said.
“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.
Openside flanker Warburton and Halfpenny were adamant Wales had recovered from the devastating last-minute second Test loss in Melbourne and would be up for the game at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Warburton wasn’t concerned fatigue might be a factor for the tourists after a draining 12-month campaign.
“Everyone knows it’s the last week of the season, but I think it’s more of a motivating factor than it is a negative, so everybody knows it’s one final push,” Warburton said.
“Considering we’ve been playing for 12 months, people are actually in pretty good condition.
“You would think players’ arms and limbs would be hanging off and have all sorts of injuries, but I think everyone has looked after themselves really well.”
Howley named an unchanged starting side from the one that pushed the Wallabies all the way at Etihad Stadium.
“I think it’s a just reward, I’ve got huge faith in this team,” said Howley, who added he wants to see an improvement in the lineout and ball retention.
He said the players were highly motivated and retaining their new world ranking of fourth was an added incentive going into the game.
© AAP 2013
Wales team: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Ashley Beck, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips, Ryan Jones, Sam Warburton (capt), Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Adam Jones, Matthew Rees, Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Scott Williams.
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