Wales team to play Australia named

Ashley-Cooper in action against the All Blacks in 2016

This run of 13 successive defeats for Wales against Australia that we have been banging on about all week is no mere arrangement of inconsequent ill fortune.

And an overdue Wales victory would also be timely in a final meeting ahead of next year's World Cup pool clash between the countries in Japan.

Last year Australia were comfortable 29-21 winners in Cardiff, with only a late try adding some respectability to the scoreline for Wales.

Horan, who became one of Australia's greatest attacking players over a decorated 80-test career from 1989-2000, said one option could be to leave one of the star flankers on the bench in an effort to develop variation and depth in what has been a troublesome position for Cheika's outfit.

"It is tough when you haven't been together for four months and you come up against - normally in the first game - Australia, South Africa and New Zealand who have come off a [Rugby] Championship", Gatland said. "We were pleased to get a good opening win under our belts last weekend, and this Saturday is all about building on that".

Most of the 13 losses Wales have suffered to Australia have been decided by seven points or less, and the Wallabies have made a habit of scoring in the dying stages to clinch victory. I didn't think we understood a lot of how the game's changed as well in the fitness level.

Dempsey was sidelined for nearly 12 months when he sustained nerve damage after his hamstring was ripped from the bone in a match against the Barbarians just before last year's spring tour.

"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".

"We're not changing anything drastically but looking more inside the work we do on the jump and lift to make sure that the jumper catching the ball can give the best delivery possible to the halfback", Cheika said.

"We know what we get from Dan, we know what a quality player is and his strengths are", Gatland said.

However, that record will be severely tested on Saturday (Sunday 3.20am AEST) against Warren Gatland's third-ranked team, who defeated Scotland last weekend. It is a great opportunity for us.

"To get so far but pull up short always leaves you very unsatisfied".

"The one thing about Australian teams is that you write them off at your peril", said the former Waikato hooker.

Australia is well-placed to compete with the world's best nations at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, provided coach Michael Cheika can resolve some lingering selection issues during the Spring Tour.

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