One more worry for Wales

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Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies.

Sydney – Wales have had to devise plans to nullify Wallabies stars Will Genia and David Pocock and now they have another attacking threat to stifle with the return of fullback Kurtley Beale in Saturday's third Sydney Test.

The Six Nations champions have come close but have lost the series after defeats in Brisbane and Melbourne and are looking to leave Australia with a prestige win over the world number two.

The Welsh are searching for their first win Down Under in 43 years since their solitary 19-16 victory in Sydney in 1969.

The task of preventing a series clean sweep became even tougher with the recall of Beale, fit again after a shoulder injury and playing despite having to defend an assault charge over an alleged altercation with security guards at a Brisbane pub this month.

The return of the running fullback gives the Wallaby backline more attacking potency and options, a situation Wales have described as “a red alert for us”.

Caretaker coach Rob Howley said: “Kurtley's ability to beat a man makes him a world-class player and he is very potent around the ruck area.

“We did a job on Will Genia in Melbourne last weekend and that resulted from our work at the contact area, in particular slowing down the Australian ball.

“That will be equally important on Saturday. Kurtley does give us another problem to deal with, but I'm sure we're up to that.”

Winger Digby Ioane is one Wallaby looking forward to Beale's first international of the season.

“When you play beside him he's one of those guys that can read the game really well, so working off Kurtley he can actually put you through gaps,” Ioane said.

Fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who has been one of the standouts for Wales in the series, rates Beale among international rugby's elite players.

“He is without a doubt up there with the best fullbacks in the world, he's a quality player and he can create something out of nothing,” Halfpenny said.

“Our defence will have to be on red alert when he's got ball in hand.”

Wales skipper and flanker Sam Warburton also pinpointed the pilfering effect of number seven Pocock at the breakdown.

“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.”

While shattered by their last-kick 25-23 defeat to Australia last weekend, the Welsh are talking of winning the final match as a reward for their tour.

“It's a fair way to come and not return home with something to show for the hard work,” forwards coach Robin McBryde said.

“This is the last opportunity and hopefully we will get back to winning ways.

“It's quite hard to lose in those circumstances last weekend, but it's also quite encouraging to know we were that close to getting what would have been quite a famous victory.”.

Howley has resisted making changes for the dead final Test, meaning that Rhys Priestland retains the fly-half position ahead of James Hook.

Priestland has been criticised for several errors at crucial times in the first two Tests, including kicking the ball back to the Wallabies in the final minutes as Wales grimly tried and failed to protect a 23-22 lead last weekend. – Sapa-AFP


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