Best rugby back line
8 November, 2017, 12:00 am
RIEKO Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie take note. Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards has declared the Wallabies boast the best attacking weapons in World Rugby.
Australia haven’t tasted defeat to Wales since 2008 and lost just two of their last 17 matches against the men from the principality ahead of Sunday’s international in Cardiff..
They’ll head into the showdown full of confidence following last month’s win over the All Blacks and then racking up 63 points against Japan on Saturday.
The Great Britain rugby league great is wary of the threat posed to his side by Michael Cheika’s team despite the absence of Israel Folau.
“They have immense attacking weapons, they have the most potent attacking force in the first three phases in world rugby, even more than the All Blacks,” said Edwards, who is Wales’ defence coach.
“There is a multitude of outstanding backs. Karmichael Hunt debuted for the Brisbane Broncos when he was 17 which is an incredible feat.
“Whoever they play at fullback will be a potent force, whether it be Kurtley Beale etc.
“Folau is Folau. He is an incredible player … I am sure they’ll have someone to take his place. But am I glad he’s not playing Saturday? Just a little.”
The Wallabies’ hold over the Welsh is similar to the stranglehold New Zealand had over Cheika’s side before the 24-18 win in Brisbane broke the seven-game losing streak against the world champions.
However, apart from last year’s 32-3 blow out at the Principality Stadium, Edwards believes there has been little to choose between the two sides who’ll face off in the group stages at the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
“Last year before we played Australia we only had one training session,” said Edwards.
“Everyone knows they are together for four months before they get here.
“They are like a club team. That is the advantage southern hemisphere teams have. That is just the way it is.
“They’re perennially a top-four ranked team and yes, we’ve failed to get the winning edge even when we have played outstandingly.
“I remember when we went to Melbourne in 2012 (and lost in the last minute) and once again last minute in Sydney.
“They had the edge on us last year and were all over us.
“Hopefully we’ll be that little bit stronger. Definitely the best pat of their game is their attack.”
Flanker Tipuric is struggling with a thigh problem and Webb with a knee injury.