Dragons ready to roast and batter Wallabies
November 26, 2013
Kurtley Beale drove a stake through the collective Welsh heart on December 1, 2012 © PA Photos
Wales have put the Wallabies in their crosshairs and declared "now is the time" after eight consecutive losses to Australia, with Richard Hibbard and assistant coach Shaun Edwards revealing how the chance for long-awaited vengeance has been driving them after three of the most tormenting defeats the Dragons have suffered.
Wales have beaten Argentina and Tonga since losing the first of their autumn internationals, but they have been far more is invested in the Test against Australia at Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
"Let's be honest, this is a game everyone has been waiting for," Edwards said. "South Africa was a massive game against a world-class opponent. But I think at the back of the mind, everyone realises that Wales versus Australia have been brilliant games recently, so close, so competitive, a high standard of rugby."
Welshmen dominated the Warren Gatland-coached British & Irish Lions side that defeated the Wallabies 2-1 in Australia earlier this year, but those same Wales players they are still hurting from their previous heartbreaking defeats - the most painful of which came in Cardiff almost 12 months ago when Kurtley Beale scored a last-gasp try to steal the match 14-12. Gatland's men had previously lost 25-23 in Melbourne, when Mike Harris kicked a penalty after full-time, and then suffered a one-point defeat in Sydney.
"We've been so close over so many games but now is the time to do it," said Hibbard, who was responsible for Harris's match-winning penalty. "We have been saying it so long and now we have to deliver."
Hibbard enjoyed a key role in the Lions' series-deciding 41-16 win over the Wallabies in Sydney, playing like a man possessed for 47 minutes - even after a massive head clash with George Smith; the Wallabies flanker sent to the sidelines with concussion only to return in controversial fashion while Hibbard hopped back up and went on with the game.
The hooker said the experience and confidence from that win would help Wales, a team he rated as wiser and more mature for having won the 2013 Six Nations title.
"[The Lions] were physical, battered them for 60 minutes, and that was the end of it. They couldn't survive after that; we have to bring that ferocity again. It was intense but one of those situations where you don't want to walk off the pitch; you're willing to crawl off. You would do anything for the win because it's that important.
"We definitely want to win this. We're going to win this and we have to bring the intensity from the off and the physicality right across the park."
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