Wales are quite happy to see Kurtley Beale relegated to the bench.
Wales are quite happy to see Kurtley Beale relegated to the bench.

Wales happy to see the back of Beale

WALES coach Warren Gatland is licking his lips, believing Australia will be far less dangerous in attack after dropping Kurtley Beale to the bench for Sunday's World Cup battle.

While Gatland named an unchanged Welsh team, he said he always knew the Wallabies would turn to their experienced players for a clash that will decide which team wins the pool and earns an easier path through the knockout stages.

Not only that, but Gatland said the return of the halves pairing of Will Genia and Bernard Foley was a giveaway sign  the Wallabies were planning to abandon their free-wheeling running game for more tactical kicking.

"With Beale, they lose a bit of their attacking threat because he is definitely an attacking threat for them. As in the past he will probably come off the bench relatively early and will be a handful for us," Gatland said.

"With Foley there, they will probably kick a bit more than they have been. Their kicking percentage has been pretty low in recent internationals so we expect them to kick a bit more.

"Probably with the back three, and Foley and Genia as well, they will try to negate our kicking threat."


It's no secret that Wales will pepper Australia's back three with high kicks. Dan Biggar used the tactic to great effect when Wales beat the Wallabies in Cardiff last year to end a 13-game losing streak, so Gatland said Australia's selections changes were no surprise.

"We are pretty good with Biggar at 10 and we have been pretty good in the air and it's probably where we got an advantage over them last November. They are aware of that. It was not too dissimilar to what we thought," he said.

"We probably did not think Foley would start but his experience and running threat in the 22 is something we are going to have to keep an eye on."

Dan Biggar looms as a big threat for the Wallabies on Sunday.
Dan Biggar looms as a big threat for the Wallabies on Sunday.

While Wales didn't exactly dominate the Wallabies in their 9-6 win in Cardiff, just winning was enough of a confidence boost to give the Welsh the belief they could match it with the best southern hemisphere teams at the World Cup after getting spanked for so long when the pressure was on.

"Losing games in the last minute in half a dozen contests can be quite demoralising, but we really focused on last autumn's campaign and it was really important to us with two big games against Australia and South Africa," Gatland said.

"Australia was definitely one we went in trying to write the wrongs and coming away with a win. It was a typical old-fashioned Test match as there was not much given and defences tended to dominate, but we were lucky to come out on top."